What is it:
This is a bas relief panel carved in limestone from an enormous frieze depicting the royal lion hunts of Assyria, built for the North Palace of Nineveh, circa 645-635 BC. It is now on display at the British Museum in London in a massive hall that will take your breath away.
Why is it Awesome?
I first came across the sculpture when I was seventeen, wandering around the British Museum. The lion’s expression of suffering –of great dignity struck low– was so palpable that I felt compelled to sit down and sketch it. I have that drawing taped into one of my early notebooks, and in an idle moment a year or so ago I decided to look around online to see if the image was available. Much to my delight, my very lion –of the dozens depicted on the frieze– was available on the Wikipedia Commons. It promptly became my desktop. I have since scoured the Internet for more images and information with limited results at best, I’m afraid. What I did find is compiled into this article.