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Tag Archives British Museum

THE MOLD CAPE

In what is now the back garden of a house –

a between-the-wars semi – in Mold, a town

in North East Wales, a gang of labourers,

one hundred and seventy years ago,

hired to demolish a burial mound –

known as Bryn yr Ellyllon, Goblin’s Hill –

uncovered what seemed to be small sheets of brass

on a small, fragmentary skeleton.

Cleaned, fitted together, a local scholar

declared them a Bronze Age cape of gold,

perhaps made to fit a royal child.

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THE AMBIGUITY OF THEFT

Two of the rooms in the British Museum

I always visit are numbers 7

and 8, ‘Assyria: Nimrud’. Named,

in modern times, for the Biblical Nimrod

the three thousand year old city of Kalhu

is twenty miles south of Mosul. On display

from the palace of Ashurnasirpal

are gypsum panels, carved reliefs, products –

faultlessly sculpted – from a master’s workshop.

They are, for the most part, pristine, and portray

absolute kingship, its circumstance, pomp,

and prisoners’ heads severed after battle.

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