Giraudon/Art Resource, NY

Anticipating the themes of Solomon’s Temple by almost a thousand years, this wall painting comes from the Old Babylonian palace of King Zimri-Lim at Mari, on the banks of the Euphrates River. From the mid-third millennium B.C.E. until its destruction by Hammurabi (1696–1654 B.C.E.), Mari was a prosperous city and an important political center.