Europian Wars

Reliquary of St Eustace

Egg and cress sandwiches

Mold gold cape

Old Street

Belsize Park


North Wembley

Quilted cotton horse armour

Nataraja, Lord of the Dance

East Putney

Mill Hill East

Bimaran reliquary



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Colossal winged bull from the Palace of Sargon

This is one of a pair of human-headed winged bulls that once guarded an entrance to the citadel of Dur-Sharrukin, known today as Khorsabad. The city was built by the Assyrian king Sargon II (721-705 BC) as the new capital of his empire.
Double spout and bridge pottery vessel

This jar depicts a fantastic bird with a human face, adorned with a mouth mask and a diadem. The bird is holding a human trophy head in its mouth. Ritual beheading was a common practice in the Andes and scenes of decapitation are painted on Nasca vessels.
Kozo, double-headed dog

This Kongo wooden ritual figure is in the shape of a double-headed dog, known as Kozo. These figures were made in various human and animal forms, but Kozo was especially popular. His “fur” is made from nails and sherds of metal, and on his back he carries a pack of medicines made from vegetable and mineral materials bound with clay. To instruct Kozo in a particular task a ritual specialist, the Nganga, would drive an iron blade into him with an accompanying invocation.
Granite sphinx

The sphinx is a mythical creature with the body of lion and, usually, a human head, although sometimes the head might be that of a falcon, hawk or ram. Images of sphinxes were created in Egypt as guardian figures for temples or tombs. Although most people associate the sphinx with Egypt, this sphinx comes from what is today Sudan.
Mythical Beasts

The massive winged bulls from the royal palaces of the Assyrian empire in what is today Iraq have captured the imagination of visitors to the Museum since their arrival in the XIX century. These giant magical beasts have the bodies of bulls, the wings of birds and human bearded heads. They were guardian figures, as was the sphinx in Egypt.
Cristovao Canhavato (Kester) (1966-…), Throne of weapons

This throe sculpture is made from guns and parts of guns used in the devastating civil war in Mozambique. It was made by the Mozambican artist Kester from decommissioned weapons collected after the end of that war in 1992. It is a product of TAE (Transformaçaõ de Armas em Enxadas), a project which encourages the exchange of weapons for agricultural, domestic and construction tools. The result is a vivid reminder of sixteen years of devastating civil war as well as a symbol of hope for the future.
Leonardo da Vinci (1452-1519), Military Machines

This is one of a number of sheets of drawings from a notebook by Leonardo in which he designed instruments of war. He drew these while working for Ludovico Sforza, Duke of Milan (1494-99). Under each drawing Leonardo has written words of explanation in his characteristic “mirror” writing.
Bronze gladiator’s helmet

This bronze helmet would have been worn by a heavily armed Roman gladiator such as the samnite or murmillo. Different types of gladiator were equipped with different weapons and armour. The murmillo was one of the heavyweight gladiatorial categories, fighting with a tall oblong shield and a sword with a broad straight blade, similar to those of the army infantry soldiers. The total weight of his arms and armour was around 16-18 kg. His most usual opponent would have been the thraex (Thracian) or hoplomachus, with a small shield.
Battersea shield

This is a rare example of an Iron Age shield from Britain. It has survived only because it was thrown or placed in the River Thames, where many weapons were offered as sacrifices.
Seal-die of Robert Fitzwalter

A seal-die is an engraved stamp used to impress a design on to hot wax in order to seal documents. This impressive example ia made of silver and engraved to the highest standard. It shows the arms of Robert Fitzwalter (died 1235), one of the most influential English barons of the early XIII century, and is inscribed with the legend: +SIGILLVM: ROBERTI: FILII: WALTERI (the seal of Robert, son of Walter).