3-D printing re-creates ancient sculpture destroyed by IS

Updated July 04, 2019

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London: A 3D printed re-creation of the ancient Lion of Mosul, which was destroyed by the militant Islamic State group, is displayed as part of the ‘What Remains’ exhibition at the Imperial War Museum on Wednesday. — AP
London: A 3D printed re-creation of the ancient Lion of Mosul, which was destroyed by the militant Islamic State group, is displayed as part of the ‘What Remains’ exhibition at the Imperial War Museum on Wednesday. — AP

LONDON: A figure of a roaring lion, about the size of a loaf of bread, is the latest step in the fight to preserve culture from conflict.

The sculpture is a replica of a colossal 3,000-year-old statue from the Temple of Ishtar in Nimrud, in what’s now Iraq. The stone statue was one of many artefacts from the Mosul Museum destroyed by the militant Islamic State group after it overran the city in 2014.

The replica Lion of Mosul, which can be viewed online, was modelled from crowd-sourced photos taken by Mosul Museum visitors in happier times and 3-D printed as part of Google’s digital arts and culture project.

It’s going on display at London’s Imperial War Museum in an exhibition that looks at how war devastates societies’ cultural fabric and at the ingenious and often heroic steps taken to preserve it.

Chance Coughenour, digital archaeologist at Google Arts and Culture, said the exhibition “highlights the potential of technology both in terms of digitally preserving culture and telling these amazing stories in engaging new ways.” It also illustrates a grim truth: culture has long been a casualty of conflict. Museums, monuments and even music are often deliberately targeted by combatants.

Published in Dawn, July 4th, 2019