The Sallie Crozer Hilprecht Collection

Originally Published in 1930

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A boundary stone with a long inscription and carvings of animals
Boundary Stone of Nebuchadnezzar I
Museum Object Number: 29-20-1
The Sallie Crozer Hilprecht Collection

By the will of the late Herman V. Hilprecht, one time curator of the Babylonian Section, the Museum acquires three pieces of great importance: two copper goats’ heads from Fara, obtained by Dr. Hilprecht while he was excavating for the Museum. at Nippur, and a rare boundary stone of the time of Nebuchadnezzar I, found at Nippur during the excavations of 1896.

The heads, splendid examples of the Babylonian sculptor’s craft of five thousand years ago, belong to the type of animal sculpture so superbly illustrated in the silver, gold and copper hulls’ heads in the Museum’s collections from Ur, with which they should be compared. The spirally twisted horns characterize the wild Asiatic goat, and the strong modelling, the eyes inlaid with lapis lazuli and shell, the rich patina of the copper, combine to make the pieces among the most outstanding in the collections of Babylonian sculpture. The larger is here illustrated. [Plate VIII.]

A copper goat head with corkscrew shaped horns
Copper Goat’s Head from Fara
Museum Object Number: 29-20-3
The Sallie Crozer Hilprecht Collection

The magnificent boundary stone [Plate IX], was “presented by the Imperial Ottoman Government to Professor Hilprecht for his services in organizing the Assyriological Section of the Sultan’s Archaeological Museum in Constantinople.”

It is a conical block of black limestone, forty-nine centimetres high and seventy-three in circumference. Around the top are carved in low relief symbols of Marduk, Nahu, Anu, Enlil, and other Assyrian deities. Among them is written the name of the stone: “Ninih and Nusku establish the boundary.” Below is the unusual feature of a drawing of the field, with a description of it. There follows a long inscription, beginning with a beautiful hymn to Enlil, the God of Nippur, followed by an account of the presentation by Nebuchadnezzar of the land described to Nusku-ibni, a high dignitary of the temple in Nippur, and closing with curses upon anyone who should attempt to appropriate the land, to interfere with the privileges of the owner, or to remove or destroy this stone. The inscription is finally dated, and closes with the names of fourteen witnesses present at the transaction.

Cite This Article

"The Sallie Crozer Hilprecht Collection." Museum Bulletin I, no. 1 (January, 1930): 15-19. Accessed April 12, 2024. https://www.penn.museum/sites/bulletin/29/


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