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Ashurbanipal (sculpture)

POI: 37.779730, -122.415934
Ashurbanipal, also known as the Ashurbanipal Monument or the Statue of Ashurbanipal, is a bronze sculpture by Fred Parhad, an artist of Assyrian descent. It is located in the Civic Center of San Francisco, California, in the United States. The 15-foot (4.6 m) statue depicting the Assyrian king of the same name was commissioned by the Assyrian Foundation for the Arts and presented to the City of San Francisco in 1988 as a gift from the Assyrian people. The sculpture reportedly cost $100,000 and was the first "sizable" bronze statue of Ashurbanipal. It is administered by the City and County of San Francisco and the San Francisco Arts Commission. Parhad's work was met with some criticism by local Assyrians, who argued it was inaccurate to portray Ashurbanipal holding a book and a lion, or wearing a skirt. The critics thought the statue looked more like the Sumerian king Gilgamesh; Renee Kovacs, a "scholar and self-stated Assyriologist", believed the sculpture depicted neither figure, but rather a Mesopotamian "protective figure". Parhad defended the accuracy of his work, while also admitting that he took artistic liberties.
Background
Ashurbanipal was designed by Fred Parhad, an Iraqi-born artist of Assyrian descent. Parhad rejected formal arts studies at the University of California, Berkeley and relocated to New York, where the Metropolitan Museum of Art allowed him to study its Assyrian collection. The work was commissioned by the Assyrian Foundation for the Arts under the direction of its president, Narsai David. The Assyrian Universal Alliance Foundation also claims to have commissioned the work. Funds were collected from Assyrians throughout the United States. In 1987, The Telegraph reported that the work cost $100,000 and was the first "sizable" bronze statue of Ashurbanipal. It was presented to the City of San Francisco as a gift from the Assyrian people on May 29, 1988, unveiled at the entry to the Asian Art Museum on Van Ness Avenue. The statue now stands on Fulton Street between the Main Library and Asian Art Museum, within the city's Civic Center. It is administered by the City and County of San Francisco and the San Francisco Arts Commission. The Smithsonian Institution lists Frank Tomsick as the installation's architect and MBT Associates as its architectural firm. Ashurbanipal was surveyed by the Smithsonian's Save Outdoor Sculpture! program in 1992. In 1996, plans for a Civic Center pedestrian mall were being developed by the San Francisco Planning and Urban Research Association; one planner advocated for construction of an Assyrian garden, including lotus blossoms, pomegranate trees and reeds, at the site of the statue.
Description
The 8-foot (2.4 m) patinated bronze statue, mounted on a base and a plinth to reach a total height of 15 feet (4.6 m), weighs approximately 1,800 pounds (820 kg). It depicts Ashurbanipal, the Assyrian king known for building the eponymously named Library of Ashurbanipal, the first and largest...   ... (English)
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