3000 year-old Lion of Mosul statue brought back to life with 3D printing - 3D Printing Industry
Art & Sculpture

3000 year-old Lion of Mosul statue brought back to life with 3D printing

A 3D printed replica of the 3000 year-old Lion of Mosul statue is on display at London’s Imperial War Museum (IWM), as part of a three-part exhibition titled Culture Under Attack

The original stone statue, which was destroyed by ISIS four years ago at the Mosul Museum in Baghdad, Iraq, was digitally modeled by Google Arts and Culture and Rekrei, a crowd-sourcing project using photographs to preserve destroyed cultural treasures.

“The destruction of culture is sort of an accepted sideline to war,” said Paris Agar, IWM curator. “One of the main reason for destroying culture is to send a message: We have victory over you. We have power over you. It’s because culture means so much to us; if we didn’t care it wouldn’t be a tool.”

The original Lion of Mosul statue which measured at 2.59m (height) and 3.96m (length). Image via Google Arts & Culture/British Museum.
The original Lion of Mosul statue which measured at 2.59m (height) and 3.96m (length). Image via Google Arts & Culture/British Museum.

The Lion of Mosul 

In 2015, a third of the Mosul Museum’s collection was destroyed by members of ISIS in an on camera terrorism attack. The Lion of Mosul was one of many artifacts torn down. Its history dates back approximately 3000 years ago in Mesopotamia, where ancient kings would place colossal lion statues beside the doors of temples and city gates as a sign of royalty.

The original statue was installed in the Assyrian city of Nimrud’s Temple of Ishtar – now known as Iraq. By gathering photographs from tourists, a 3D model of the Lion of Mosul was reconstructed for an exhibition in the Czech republic called Monument Mosul in Danger.

The Google Arts and Culture and Rekrei collaborators have now 3D printed a replica of the Lion of Mosul, similar in size to a loaf of bread, for the IWM. This is said to represent the first artwork by Google’s digital culture team made specifically for a museum exhibition.

Digital restoration

3D printing, 3D scanning and CAD have been used as tools to restore valued artifacts and building around the world. Previously, Egyptian artifacts discovered at Ancient burial sites were faithfully recreated by 3D printing at Fab Lab Warrington.

Also, Belgian software company Materialise, unveiled its 3D printed replica of the Lier mammoth. This project is now complete, and the 3D printed mammoth can now be visited at the Stadsmuseum Lier.

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Featured image shows The original Lion of Mosul statue which measured at 2.59m (height) and 3.96m (length). Image via Google Arts & Culture/British Museum.