In response to our post on blue horses, Nicholas Al-Jeloo informed us that the Assyrian word for sky blue—“sus-gawna” (or “sus-gawno”)—translates literally to “horse-color”, and that this is depicted in ancient Assyrian art. He points to the following image of a fresco from the royal palace of the provincial Neo-Assyrian capital of Til Barsip, from the 8th century B.C.
Yoko Tomabechi describes the painting:
“This 6 m long wall of the bathroom facing the doorway is decorated with a royal lion hunting scene. A king with a bow and an arrow rides on a chariot with a driver, who harnesses a team of four blue chariot horses. Only one body and two of the horses’ heads are depicted, but the four head decorations of multiple tassels and three reins held by the driver show that four horses are involved. A bleeding rampant lion, which is pierced with three arrows, attempts the last attack on the king’s chariot.”