Notice

The museum is closed at 5pm, but the outside grounds will be filled with lots of outdoor Noel Night activities until 9pm. 

Glazed Brick with Bird Man, between 900 and 650 BCE

  • Assyrian, Mesopotamian

Glazed terracotta

  • Overall: 13 1/2 × 13 1/2 × 3 3/4 inches (34.3 × 34.3 × 9.5 cm)

Founders Society Purchase, Cleo and Lester Gruber Fund and the Hill Memorial Fund

1989.68

On View

  • Ancient Middle East Gallery

Department

Ancient Near Eastern Art

The walls of Assyrian palaces and temples were sometimes adorned with glazed terracotta decoration. A tradition for using glazed brick as wall adornment began in the ancient Near East during the thirteenth century BCE in southern Iran. The Birdman, a magical creature, appeared first in the third millennium BCE as a mischievous being who was bound and brought before the gods. By the late neo-Assyrian period, his role is less clear: here he seems beneficent, his arms raised to support, in all probability, a winged sun-disk, the symbol of divinity.

(Sotheby's, New York, New York, USA)

1989-present, purchase by the Detroit Institute of Arts (Detroit, Michigan, USA)

"Selected recent acquistions," Bulletin of the DIA 65, no. 4, 1990, p. 55, (ill). Bulletin of the DIA 66, no. 2/3, 1990, title page, (ill). Henshaw, Julia P., ed. A Visitors Guide: The Detroit Institute of Arts. Detroit, 1995, p. 97 (ill.)

Assyrian, Mesopotamian; Neo-Assyrian, Mesopotamian, Glazed Brick with Bird Man, between 900 and 650 BCE, glazed terracotta. Detroit Institute of Arts, Founders Society Purchase, Cleo and Lester Gruber Fund and the Hill Memorial Fund, 1989.68.