The role of genii

This four-winged man is a genius. His magical powers help protect the palace in the same way as the bulls that flanked its entrances and passageways. He holds a situla in his left hand, and a pine or cedar cone in his right hand, which he has dipped in a liquid before symbolically sprinkling the visitor with it as a sign of blessing or to ward off evil.

Characteristic style

This genius is a good example of the Assyrian decorative style. He is elaborately dressed in a long, short-sleeved fringed cape over a shorter braided tunic, revealing a calf with a stylised and carefully modelled musculature. The figure is adorned with earrings and two pairs of bracelets and has a beard with painstakingly sculpted curls. His large egg-shaped headdress with three pairs of horns asserts his divinity.

Numerous protectors

Several reliefs at Khorsabad depict protective genii, of which there were many variants. Some are over four meters tall and have different levels of relief. A number of genii are raptor-headed hybrids. A stylised or "sacred” tree with a complex symbolic value is sometimes depicted. Another protective figure is the hero overpowering a lion, which may refer to the legendary king Gilgamesh. Some heroes probably depict Lahmu, a protective genius recognisable by his long curly hair.