The king and a dignitary

The Sargon relief from Facade L of the palace (Courtyard I) shows the king on the right, recognisable by his high truncated-cone tiara and elaborate dress, carrying a sword at his side and holding a cane. He is facing a high dignitary on the left, also richly dressed and carrying a sword. His high rank is indicated by his ornate headband or ribbon diadem: he is probably a prominent figure, perhaps Crown Prince Sennacherib.

Relief style

As on other palace reliefs, these figures have precisely sculpted anatomies. Although simplified, the contours highlight the suppleness of their hands and muscularity of their arms. The sharp profiles stand out from the extremely plain background and their noble heads have a calm expression. The sculptors used different levels of relief in Khorsabad. King Sargon's left shoulder and right arm stand out from the rest of the body, which is slightly flatter, giving volume to the figure as a whole.

Elaborate dress

This relief demonstrates the highly decorative style of Assyrian art: the hair and beards are delicately carved with individual curls, the dress embroidery and ornaments are meticulously sculpted and the jewellery highly detailed. As kings, high dignitaries, and officials differed in appearance, it is easy to tell which is which. Rosette bracelets, for example, were worn only by the king and the most important members of the court.