Rayyane Tabet reciting a list of the original orthostates in Arabic
During Baron Max von Oppenheim's initial excavation at Tell Halaf in 1911, he discovered a sequence of 194 orthostats, or stone slabs carved in low relief. Alternating blocks of black basalt and painted limestone were installed along the base of a Neo-Hittite palace, forming a narrative frieze with images of animals, plants, and deities, and scenes of hunting, war, ritual, and daily life. Today, many of these works have been lost, stolen, or destroyed. Those that survive are dispersed across collections worldwide.
In 2017 Rayyane Tabet began making rubbings of the existing orthostats. So far, he has created rubbings of thirty-two basalt reliefs in the Pergamon Museum, Berlin; the Louvre Museum, Paris; the Walters Museum, Baltimore; and The Met.
The installation of the rubbings mirrors the placement of the original stones at the base of the niched walls of the palace. Above them is a complete list of the original orthostats, citing the current location, medium, and motif of each.
Listen to Rayyane Tabet recite a list of the original Orthostates in Arabic