The walls of Assyrian palaces and temples were sometimes adorned with glazed terracotta decoration. A tradition for using glazed brick as wall adornment began in the ancient Near East during the thirteenth century BCE in southern Iran.
The Birdman, a magical creature, appeared first in the third millennium BCE as a mischievous being who was bound and brought before the gods. By the late neo-Assyrian period, his role is less clear: here he seems beneficent, his arms raised to support, in all probability, a winged sun-disk, the symbol of divinity.
Artist Assyrian, Mesopotamian
  • Glazed Brick with Bird Man
Date between 900 and 650 BCE
Medium Glazed terracotta
Dimensions Overall: 13 1/2 × 13 1/2 × 3 3/4 inches (34.3 × 34.3 × 9.5 cm)
Credit Line Founders Society Purchase, Cleo and Lester Gruber Fund and the Hill Memorial Fund
Accession Number 1989.68
Department Ancient Near Eastern Art
On View Ancient Middle East Gallery, Level 1 (see map)
(Sotheby's, New York, New York, USA);
1989-present, purchase by the Detroit Institute of Arts (Detroit, Michigan, USA)
"Selected recent acquistions," Bulletin of the DIA 65, no. 4, 1990, p. 55, (ill).

Bulletin of the DIA 66, no. 2/3, 1990, title page, (ill).

Henshaw, Julia P., ed. A Visitors Guide: The Detroit Institute of Arts. Detroit, 1995, p. 97 (ill.)