British Museum

The Assyrian king Ashurnasirpal II (883–859 B.C.E.), covered with rosettes from his crown to the robe dangling above his feet, slays a lion as part of his kingly duties, on this relief from Nimrud. Nearly every Assyrian king that came after him is also depicted festooned with rosettes, as are their officers, servants and horses. Though some scholars have argued that rosettes were merely decorative, the prominence of rosettes in royal Assyrian art has led Tel Aviv University archaeologist David Ussishkin to conclude that they were symbols of royalty. Winged disks and rosettes also symbolized the Assyrian’s main deity, Ashur, for whom the king served as a representative.