The Queen of The Night Relief - History
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Old Babylonian, 1800-1750 BC
From southern Iraq
A major acquisition for the British Museum's 250th anniversary
This large plaque is made of baked straw-tempered clay, modelled in high relief. The figure of the curvaceous naked woman was originally painted red. She wears the horned headdress characteristic of a Mesopotamian deity and holds a rod and ring of justice, symbols of her divinity. Her long multi-coloured wings hang downwards, indicating that she is a goddess of the Underworld. Her legs end in the talons of a bird of prey, similar to those of the two owls that flank her. The background was originally painted black, suggesting that she was associated with the night. She stands on the backs of two lions, and a scale pattern indicates mountains.
The figure could be an aspect of the goddess Ishtar, Mesopotamian goddess of sexual love and war, or Ishtar's sister and rival, the goddess Ereshkigal who ruled over the Underworld, or the demoness Lilitu, known in the Bible as Lilith. The plaque probably stood in a shrine.
The same goddess appears on small, crude, mould-made plaques from Babylonia from about 1850 to 1750 BC. Thermoluminescence tests confirm that the 'Queen of the Night' relief was made between 1800 and 1750 BC.
The relief may have come to England as early as 1924, and was brought to the British Museum in 1933 for scientific testing. It has been known since its publication in 1936 in the Illustrated London News as the Burney Relief, after its owner at that time. Until 2003 it has been in private hands. The Director and Trustees of the British Museum decided to make this spectacular terracotta plaque the principal acquisition for the British Museum's 250th anniversary.
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Мы не просто торговая площадка для необычных вещей, мы сообщество людей, которые заботятся о малом бизнесе, людях и нашей планете.
Мы не просто торговая площадка для необычных вещей, мы сообщество людей, которые заботятся о малом бизнесе, людях и нашей планете.
Материалы: высококачественная фотобумажная бумага, 12 цветов чернил
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Burney Relief (также известная как Королева Ночного Рельефа) — месопотамская терракотовая табличка с высоким рельефом Исин-Ларса или старо-вавилонского периода, изображающая крылатую, обнаженную, похожую на богиню фигуру с птичьими когтями, окруженную совами, и сидя на суповых львах. Рельеф выставлен в Британском музее в Лондоне, который датировал его между 1800 и 1750 г. до н.э. Он происходит из южного Ирака, но точное место найдите неизвестно.
Представленная фигура была идентифицирована по своей явной символике, связанной с Нетер миром с Ерешкигалом, сестрой Инны и королевой ада, а также с Лилит, вавилонским богом седьмого века до нашей эры. Другие ученые отождествляя ее с шумерской богиней Инанной или Иштар, и они связали ее с мифом о его путешествии в Подземный мир.
Наши отпечатки высочайшего качества. Мы используем 12 цветов пигментных чернил системы, которая производит полный спектр цветов с нервирует точность и идеальный баланс.
Мы заботимся о природе: мы используем только водные чернила. Они устойчивы к УФ-излучениям и не высвобождаются растворителями в воздух, которым мы дышим.
Также наши работы очень качественные: художественная бумага 240гр., и имеет льняной эффект.
Вы можете выбрать между 3 мерами: 30x40 см (11,8x15,7 дюйма), 44x60 см (17,3x23,6 дюйма), или 55x75cm (21,7x29,5 дюйма).
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The Queen of the Night
This plaque is made of baked straw-tempered clay and is modelled in high relief. It was originally painted with red, black and white pigments. The naked ‘Queen’ cannot be definitely identified but it is clear that she is a Mesopotamian goddess. She wears a cap or headdress with superimposed sets of horns on it. This headdress and her wings are indications that she is a deity. Her wings are hanging downwards to illustrate that she is a goddess of the Underworld and the background of the plaque was originally painted black, which may have been a reference to the night. She is holding ‘rod and ring’ symbols in her hands. These were probably originally items used for measuring and in Mesopotamian art they became symbolic of divinity and the justice of deities and kings. The Queens’ legs end in the talons of birds of prey, similar to the two owls that flank her, and she is standing on the backs of lions. The scale pattern at the bottom of the plaque signifies mountains.
The details, rich symbolism and the creatures shown on the plaque have led to differing ideas of who the Queen may represent. She might have been Ishtar, goddess of love and war who was associated with lions, or perhaps Ishtar’s sister and rival, the goddess Ereshkigal, who ruled the Underworld.
This plaque was probably made in Babylonia (southern Iraq) between 1800 and 1750 BC. It may have come to England as early as 1924, and was brought to the British Museum in 1933 for scientific testing. It has been known since its publication in 1936 in the Illustrated London News as the ‘Burney Relief’, after its owner at that time. Until 2003 it was in private hands. The Director and Trustees of the British Museum decided to make this spectacular terracotta plaque the principal acquisition for the British Museum's 250th anniversary when it was re-named The Queen of the Night.
The Magic Flute in a nutshell
Everything you need to know about Mozart’s The Magic Flute in one place – right here!
What is the story?
The Magic Flute is a fairy tale of darkness, light, and finding your way in the world. It takes the form of a Singspiel, which means it includes singing AND spoken dialogue (a bit like a musical).
The story opens in the middle of the action. Tamino, a prince lost in a foreign land, is being pursued by an enormous monster. He is rescued by three mysterious ladies, who kill the monster and give Tamino a picture of Pamina, daughter of the Queen of the Night, with whom he falls instantly in love. They tell him that Pamina has been captured by the powerful and evil Sarastro, and Tamino vows to rescue her.
With the gift of a magic flute and some magic bells, and the assistance of the bird-catcher Papageno (who has become reluctantly involved), Tamino sets off on his quest. However, he soon discovers that nothing, not even Day and Night, is quite as it first appears…
Helen Évora, Lorna James and, Amy J. Payne as Three Ladies and Kang Wang as Tamino in The Magic Flute, 2019 © Alastair Muir
Who are the characters?
Pamina – daughter of the Queen of the Night (soprano)
Tamino – a prince (tenor)
Sarastro – Priest of the Sun (bass)
Queen of the Night (high soprano)
Papageno – a bird catcher (baritone)
Monastatos – servant of Sarastro (tenor)
… plus three ladies (servants of the Queen of the Night), three child spirits, priests of Sarastro, Armed Men, members of Sarastro’s court (played by the Chorus of Opera North) and nine additional children, which underline the themes of childhood, creativity and a new way of thinking, within the piece. This means that at some points there are up to 60 people on stage!
Vuvu Mpofu (Pamina) and Kang Wang (Tamino) in rehearsal © Tom Arber
What is the music like?
Whilst unmistakably classical, The Magic Flute’s arias, duets and ensembles are each unique in style. As well as painting a vivid picture of each character, the music reflects the skills and abilities of the original performers back in 1791.
The rustic character of Papageno has folksong-like arias built of simple melodies, whilst Sarastro’s music is deep, stately and almost hymn-like, reflecting his character as a spiritual leader. The lyrical arias of Tamino are more romantic in style (as befitting a prince) and look forward to the Italian bel canto era, while the music for the Armed Men harks back to the more regimented baroque era with its use of fugues.
Most famously, the Queen of the Night’s Act II aria, sung in rage as she orders daughter Pamina to kill Sarastro, is full of virtuosic vocal fireworks and peppered with rare high Fs. The role was written especially for Mozart’s sister-in-law, who had a stratospheric range! Hear some extracts below from our own cast, chorus and orchestra.
What is this production like?
In this new production by director James Brining and designer Colin Richmond, every scene is a visually engaging feast! The set is deceptively simple, with walls that shape-shift and move as the story progresses, creating a feeling of unsettlement and dreaminess. Projections (by Douglas O’Connell) throw some extra magic on proceedings and pull the audience a little more into the fantastical world in which this piece is set.
Inventive costumes blend fantasy and reality, with influences ranging from Dr Who to Black Mirror, but in the end, it’s all about representing the psychology behind each character. For example, the Queen of the Night’s costume is like “an odd mix of queen, scarecrow, plucked bird and 1930s Hollywood glamour gone to seed”, says designer Colin Richmond. This stems from her hatred of birds (which signal the daybreak, when her power is weakest). She therefore has bird-catcher Papageno kill as many as possible, and these dead birds form a part of her robes!
Meanwhile, Sarastro’s world, or cult, is full of uniforms, where everyone wears a variation (depending on their status within that world) of the same thing – as per The Handmaid’s Tale.
Who was the composer?
The Magic Flute (or Die Zauberflöte in the original German) was written by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (1756–1791). The piece was composed for a suburban theatre in Vienna with which Mozart had a close relationship – Freihaus-Theatre auf der Wieden – run by actor and impresario Emanuel Schikaneder, who also wrote the libretto.
The opera premiered on 30 September 1791 (just two months before Mozart’s premature death), with the composer conducting and Schikaneder himself as the bird-catcher Papageno. It was an immediate hit with audiences. Having taken Vienna by storm, The Magic Flute’s popularity soon spread throughout all Europe. Today, it remains the third most frequently performed opera worldwide.
Posthumous painting of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart by Barbara Krafft, 1819
Did you know?
– The Magic Flute is full of oppositions (e.g. day against night, man against woman). At a musical level, this is represented by extremes of pitch – the role of Sarastro descends to an unusually low F2 in a few places, whilst the Queen of the Night’s famous aria reaches the dizzying heights of F6, a whole four octaves above!
– As both Mozart and Schikaneder were freemasons, The Magic Flute is said to allude to several masonic symbols and rites, including the repeated use of the number three (three trials, three ladies, three children, three doors to Sarastro’s palace etc.) It is also possible that Sarastro himself was modelled on prominent Viennese Freemason Ignaz von Born.
– As with many of his earlier operas, Mozart composed The Magic Flute’s fizzing overture last! It opens with three majestic chords (the number three again!) in the key of Eb major, which has three flats.
– This is the sixth different production of The Magic Flute in Opera North’s 40-year history, and the first new production since 2003.
Facsimile of Mozart's autograph score to The Magic Flute © Opera North
The Magic Flute is sung in English and lasts approximately 2 hours 45 minutes (including one interval). Join in on social media with #ONMagicFlute.
‘The Queen of the Night,’ by Alexander Chee
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In opera, voice is everything. The narrator of “The Queen of the Night,” Lilliet Berne, is a star of the Paris Opera. She possesses a rare and delicate Falcon soprano range, named for Marie-Cornélie Falcon, whose voice famously shattered in the middle of a performance and never recovered. Lilliet’s world is one of silence and sound, of risk and fragility, and the balance between vocal power and expression.
Voice is everything in historical fiction, too: One of the novelist’s critical creative decisions is how to present the voices and world views of people in the past, while making them accessible for modern readers. Many authors of popular historical novels attempt something that simply sounds a bit old-fashioned, in an attempt to create a sense of authenticity, as if that were actually possible. But what is assumed to be “authenticity” is a genre convention that owes more to the influence of early historical fiction than to genuine speech patterns of ancient Rome or the real pirates of the Caribbean.
There are other approaches, such as the vaulting ventriloquism of Sarah Waters or Peter Carey, or the postmodern voice showcased in Jeanette Winterson’s “The Passion.” In “Wolf Hall,” Hilary Mantel mastered the transparent voice subtly reflecting Tudor speech and language, without us tripping over a single “prithee” or “gadzook” — while in “The Luminaries,” Eleanor Catton reproduced a syntax and vocabulary reminiscent of Dickens. Whatever the author’s particular spin, the characters’ voices, especially in first-person narration, create an imagined past for the reader, and need to sing in tune.
“The Queen of the Night,” Alexander Chee’s salute to the music and literature of the 19th century, is also all about voice. The rags-to-riches plot is an intentionally improbable picaresque featuring all the glorious elements of great operas of the era: love at first sight, disguise, intrigue, grief, betrayal, secrets, scheming aristocrats, a besotted tenor, dramatic escapes, grand settings, fabulous costumes, murder, fallen women, sacrifice — the follies of humans at the mercy of Fate. “Victory, defeat, victory, defeat, victory, defeat” is a refrain.
Lilliet’s story begins at a state ball, naturally, before her memories take us from childhood on a bleak Minnesota farm to a circus, from a Paris brothel to the stage, and finally back to the world of the traveling circus. At different stages she performs as a daughter, acrobat, prisoner, servant, friend, courtesan, spy and celebrity — an astonishing arc that circles back when she is invited to appear in a new opera based on her own secret life story.
One of her roles is Amina, the sleepwalker in Bellini’s “La Sonnambula,” who “is grieving, raging at her fate, in love, ultimately despairing of all hope, unaware she is in terrible danger until she wakes to her rescue, exultant.” Like Amina, Lilliet moves through her many incarnations and settings as if from scene to scene, character to character. She finds little joy in singing and is beyond the audience’s reach, behind makeup and costume. She tells us that she too is grieving, raging and exultant, but she has been trained to use her face and her voice as a mask, to “give and never give anything away.” At times Lilliet loses, or pretends to lose, or refuses to use her speaking voice, seeking refuge in silence, another “mask of a kind,” she says. “It let me be whatever or whomever they needed me to be.”
While the novel is infused with an operatic sensibility, it doesn’t feel like an opera — there’s little transcendental magic or soaring tragedy. Lilliet’s passive narration has a distant, formal tone, seemingly meant as a re-creation of 19th-century voice, but executed without the mastery of a Catton or Waters, dulling the drama, even at the most theatrical moments. Flat notes and stilted phrasing create a “performance of alienation” that positions the reader as a spectator viewing a world produced by exposition, flashbacks and jump cuts between memories, illusory subplots and red herrings. An abundance of detail and a chorus of historical personalities lead to a few plot inconsistencies and diversions and also slow the pace.
But the story and the murky mystery within it take off in the fourth act, in a dark and hungry city devastated during the siege of Paris and the Commune. Here, the narrator’s dissociated voice is more suited to her horror at the corpses in the streets, the blood in the fountains. Always a survivor, Lilliet transforms herself from the girl to whom things happen into a diva defying fate while her voice lasts.
Her fictional life intertwines with those of real women of the era: Empress Eugénie, regent during the war the composer Pauline Viardot-Garcia, who finally provides the training Lilliet’s voice needs the Comtesse de Castiglione, who wove intrigue across Europe — it is she, in a masquerade costume, who adorns the book’s cover in a remarkable early photograph. Even George Sand has a cameo role, looking like “an old elf.”
“The Queen of the Night” is a celebration of these women of creativity, ingenuity, endurance, mastery and grace — a gala in their honor. We may feel like we are watching the action from the dress circle, but their voices reach us still.
That Time the Future Queen Elizabeth II Slipped Incognito into the London Crowds
May 8, 1945, was a day of celebration for everyone in England, and, not surprisingly, among the hordes of joyful was Princess Elizabeth, the future Queen.
Her chosen form of celebrating England’s hard-won victory over Germany on that night has been the subject of articles, a documentary, and even a movie, called A Royal Night Out.
The Queen reflected on the special night in a BBC recording from 1985, which the palace released to mark the 70th anniversary of VE Day.
Winston Churchill waving to crowds in Whitehall, London on the day he confirms that the war with Germany was over.
After waving to the crowds massed in front of the balcony at Buckingham Palace, the Princess Elizabeth, 19, and her sister Princess Margaret, 15, went incognito to mix in with the crowds of London. Of course two princesses don’t just sneak out the side door on their own.
Elizabeth (far left) on the balcony of Buckingham Palace with her family and Winston Churchill on May 8, 1945, Victory in Europe Day.
After they finally persuaded their parents to let them go, a 16-strong group of trusted members of the royal household was put together to surround the two young women, including King George’s equerry, Peter Townsend, an RAF war hero who would later fall in love with Princess Margaret.
Elizabeth (left) and Margaret performing in a play, 1943.
According to The Telegraph, the party “slipped out of the palace, Princess Elizabeth in the uniform of the Auxiliary Territorial Service, with whom she had served as a mechanic, and Princess Margaret in glamorous civvies.”
Elizabeth in Auxiliary Territorial Service uniform, April 1945.
Margaret Rhodes, the cousin of Queen Elizabeth, said, “We crossed the forecourt at Buckingham Palace and got to the railings and there were these masses and masses of people. There was a general thing of, ‘We want the King and Queen,’ which we all frantically joined in with and were amazed when, five or 10 minutes later, the windows opened and they came out onto the balcony. It was like a wonderful escape for the girls. I don’t think they’d ever been out among millions of people. It was just freedom – to be an ordinary person.”
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Princesses on the footplate during the 1947 Royal Visit to South Africa. Everybody loves a steam whistle!
The Queen told the BBC, “We were terrified of being recognized, so I pulled my uniform cap well down over my eyes. A Grenadier officer among our party of about 16 people said he refused to be seen in the company of another officer improperly dressed. So I had to put my cap on normally.”
Crowds gathering in celebration at Piccadilly Circus during VE Day in 1945.
The Queen cherished her memory of seeing people linking arms and walking — “all of us just swept along on a tide of happiness and relief.”
Margaret Rhodes remembers Elizabeth and her companions doing the conga through the front door of the “stuffy and formal” Ritz. “We rather electrified the stuffy individuals inside. I don’t think people realized who was among the party – I think they thought it was just a group of drunk young people. I remember old ladies looking faintly shocked. As one congaed through, eyebrows were raised.”
Coronation of Elizabeth II, June 2, 1953.
Not too long after midnight, the two princesses were back at the palace. The Queen has called it, “One of the most memorable nights of my life.”
In 2015, the film A Royal Night Out was released, starring Sarah Gadon, Pel Bowley, Rupert Everett, and Emily Watson. In it, Princess Elizabeth slips away from the royal party and meets an airman absent without leave and Princess Margaret ends up in a nightclub. The filmmakers say it is a fictionalized account.
The Washington Post review said, “For the most part, the movie keeps things light with a jazzy brass score and a parade of fish-out-of-water scenarios… Most likely, the real Elizabeth never had such a memorable, action-packed evening. But it’s fun to imagine, if only for a moment, that behind the facade of stately hats and matching suits, the queen is hiding some wacky stories.”
The Trafalgar Square scene of A Royal Night Out was filmed on May 8, 2014, the 69th anniversary of VE night.
The Queen Of The Light
Daily Angel Oracle Card: The Queen Of The Light, from the Wisdom Of The Hidden Realms, by Colette Baron Reid
The Queen Of The Light: “Illumination Enlightenment Celebration.”
Ally: “The Queen Of The Light is a beautiful Ally and comes into your life to herald success in all your ventures. She illuminates the most important steps on your path and reminds you of your own brilliance. You are intelligent and inspired, and all your needs will be met. Remember that you are the instrument of the Divine shining through you in this world. You are on the correct path for your highest good.
The Queen also brings you insight into how you manifest your reality in the most miraculous ways. She promises that you will be shown the next right action and celebrates you as you stand brilliant, joyful, and enlightened in the present time. You have worked hard to come this far. You can be proud to stand tall in your conviction that in your heart of hearts, you know the truth of your situation.
Rewards for your perseverance and willingness to learn are on their way. Gratitude and acceptance are key today.”*
You are on the right path. You are supported by the Universe, and the Queen Of The Light is your Ally. Ask her for her Divine Guidance and to help you add the light of good intention to the manifestation of your dreams.
Yesterday we were activating all of our powers of positive expectation to activate the Law Of Attraction in our favour. We were gently reminded that by raising our vibration to match what we wish to bring forth from the Un-manifest into the physical world, we can create anything. Today, the Queen Of The Light will help us to speed up this process. As you can see from the photo, her hands are filled with the loving light of the Universe, and there is nothing too large or too small for her to assist you in creating. The only requirement for you is to listen closely to her messages, which will come in the form of signs and synchronicities as well as intuitive ideas of inspiration which pop unexpectedly into your head. This is also a time to be mindful of your night dreams, and commit to asking The Queen Of The Light for answers during this time.
Breathe in gratitude and breathe out light. See yourself breathing in love and sending out light with every exhale. Know that this light is protective and creative, breathing life into your dreams. See yourself becoming one with The Queen Of The Light, surrounded and radiating light your hands the source of healing and creativity. Direct this light to areas in your body and in your life which are in need of healing at this time, on a physical, emotional or spiritual level. See yourself bathed in love and light. See your success, your creativity, your manifestations, your connection to All That Is, your alignment of body, mind and spirit.
Know that there is cause for celebration as you embrace the Divine light and allow it to fill every aspect of your life bringing joy, balance, calm, peace, love and endless possibility.List of site sources >>>