The Ashurbanipal statue is one of my favorite public art sculptures in the San Francisco Bay Area.
"Ashurbanipal, also known as the Ashurbanipal Monument or the Statue of Ashurbanipal, is a bronze sculpture by Fred Parhad, an artist of Assyrian descent," according to Wikipedia.
"It is located in the Civic Center of San Francisco. The 8-foot (2.4 m) patinated bronze statue, mounted on a base and a plinth to reach a total height of 15 feet (4.6 m), weighs approximately 1,800 pounds (820 kg).
"It depicts Ashurbanipal, the Assyrian king known for building the eponymously named Library of Ashurbanipal, the first and largest library in Nineveh. The bearded king is shown wearing earrings and a tunic; he is holding a book (or clay tablet) in one arm and a lion cub in the other.
"According to the Historical Marker Database, the tablet reads in cuneiform: 'Peace unto heaven and earth/Peace unto countries and cities/Peace unto the dwellers in all lands/This is the statue presented to The City of San Francisco by the Assyrian people in the 210th year of America's sovereignty'.
"The full-length statue stands above a plinth adorned with a lotus blossom design and a concrete base with an anti-graffiti coating. The base includes rosettes and a bronze plaque.
"One inscription below the statue reads the text of the tablet in English, Akkadian cuneiform and Aramaic. The text 'Ashurbanipal, King of Assyria, 669–627 B.C.' appears above and the text 'Dedicated May 29, 1988' appears below, both in English. Another inscription below the statue reads, 'Presented to the City of San Francisco by the Assyrian Foundation for the Arts through donations of American Assyrian Association of San Francisco-Assyrian American National Federation', followed by a list of names of donors."
A long inscription reads: "The Assyrians formed one of the earliest great empires in the world. Their civilization dates from 2700 B.C. with the important cultural centers at Ashur and Nineveh north of modern Baghdad. Beginning as a river civilization in Mesopotamia between the Tigris and Euphrates, the empire spread east and west to touch the lives of all Near Eastern people.
"This is a statue of Ashurbanipal, one of the great kings of Assyria. A noted patron of the arts, he helped to build a culture that inspired nations from Persia to the Mediterranean Sea. The bas-reliefs in his palace are among the finest examples of ancient sculpture. Ashurbanipal ruled during the 7th century B.C. At a time when both Egypt and Babylon were under the Assyrian banner.
"Ashurbanipal had a personal love of learning which prompted him to collect existing knowledge of the known world in cuneiform tablets. His capital, Nineveh is distinguished for its vast collection, recorded as the world’s first great library.
"The language of the Assyrians, Aramaic was spoken by Christ and widely used throughout the Near East by Israelites, Arabs, Persians and others for centuries. It remained the spoken and written language of the Assyrians down to the present time. Their empire lasted 1000 years until the fall of Nineveh in 612 B.C. "During the ensuing centuries of chaotic political struggle, first between the Persians and Romans, and later between Christians and Muslims, the Assyrians sought refuge in the difficult mountainous terrain of their ancient empire where succeeding governments and warring armies passed them by. Among the first converts to Christianity, they preserved and transmitted the culture of classical Greece to the Moors who advanced it during the Dark Ages in Europe. Assyrians authored exquisite religious literature and spread Christianity to the Asiatic east as far as India and to China where their alphabet remained in use by the ruling houses until the early 20th century.
"In the First World War two-thirds of the Assyrians perished in the fighting. Displacement cost them their homes, wealth and any hope for a secure homeland. Many survivors left to begin life again in other countries. Today there are Assyrians in Europe, Australia, South America, India and the United States. Assyrians have kept their identity and language without political organization or any of the institutions of national security, passing their heritage on to new generations through the strength of family ties and a spirit of community which is deeply felt. Their rich cultural heritage binds Assyrians worldwide to each other. Their contribution to civilization will continue to enrich world culture.
"This is the statue presented to the City of San Francisco by the Assyrian people in the 210th year of America’s sovereignty. Presented to the City of San Francisco by the Assyrian Foundation for the Arts through donations of American Assyrian Association of San Francisco Assyrian American National Federation. ..."
Keywords:Ashurbanipal, Ashurbanipal sculpture, Civic Center, Glenn Franco Simmons, San Francisco
© Glenn Thomas Franco Simmons