The throneroom at Khorsabad revealed the existence of paintings originally displayed above reliefs removed in antiquity. Surviving fragments of painted plaster suggest the upper walls were decorated with painted friezes, probably depicting a procession. Similar friezes have been found in other palaces, such as Til Barsip, fragments of which are conserved in the Louvre.

Painted ceilings

In the throneroom of Sargon, some fragments of painted plaster bore traces of decayed wooden beams. This suggests the ceilings were decorated with paintings. The large wooden beams were probably adorned with geometric motifs such as circles and floral patterns. The palace at Khorsabad would therefore have been more luxurious and colourful than its appearance would suggest today.

Painting from Residence K

In 1934, the discovery of a monumental painting in the hall of Residence K, opposite the palace, confirmed the use of large painted decorations in Khorsabad. Almost 13 metres high, it was painted in blue, red, and black on white plaster. It depicted the king and a dignitary paying homage to a deity surrounded by a decor of friezes with genii, animals, and geometric motifs. Only a record drawing of the painting survives, offering a glimpse of the decorative programme of these large residences.