This Assyrian relief, carved in alabaster, depicts a scene from Room C in the Northwest Palace at Kalhu (now Nimrud) built by Ashurnasirpal II (883-859 BC) on the banks of the Tigris. Magnificent contours of flesh and musculature undulate across the surface, lending depth and vitality to this bas-relief. The panel depicts a ritual scene as indicated by the presence of a winged deity following a royal arms bearer carrying the royal bow and quiver. Although the king is not visible, he is indicated by a commonly known divine figure (apkallu) on the left. This figure uses the sacred cone in his right hand to bless or purify the royal arms bearer (sha reshe) as he approaches the king. The "anointment" of the king and his attendants by a protective deity maintained the potency of the royal figure. A cuneiform inscription at the bottom of the relief proclaims Ashurnasirpal's power as the supreme ruler not only of all Assyrian territories but also of the entire universe and a fearful leader in war and peace. This panel would have been part of the elaborately decorated palace at Kalhu incorporating carved wall panels, free-standing sculpture, commemorative stelae and luxurious textiles. Although the Assyrian tradition dictated that kings self-proclaim their status by building such cities and palaces, Ashurnasirpal was the first in the ancient Mesopotamian region to use stone so extensively. Narrative reliefs were not only a means of displaying artistic achievement, each theme was indicative and representative of the status of the room in which it was placed. Therefore, this scene from Room C, adjacent to the throne room, symbolizes one of the highest levels of formality and reverence for the king. Sir Austin Henry Layard, a young British archaeologist, led the sensational excavations at Nimrud and Nineveh between 1845 and 1851. Amongst his many responsibilities, Layard was instructed to ship to England anything and everything he found. Because the major part of the excavation work was funded by the British Museum, most of the objects went there. However, Layard's wife's cousin, Sir John Guest, personally funded the transportation expenses and in recognition of his contribution was given some works, which were sent to Canford Manor, the Guest family home. Nineveh Court was subsequently built as an adjunct to Canford Manor for these Assyrian treasures. The Canford Assyrian relief became one of the focal points of the Miho Museum.