The British Museum sets the stage, reference 645 – 635 BC:
In ancient Assyria, lion-hunting was considered the sport of kings, symbolic of the ruling monarch’s duty to protect and fight for his people. The sculpted reliefs...illustrate the sporting exploits of the last great Assyrian king, Ashurbanipal (668-631 BC) and were created for his palace at Nineveh (in modern-day northern Iraq).
The hunt scenes, full of tension and realism, rank among the finest achievements of Assyrian Art. They depict the release of the lions, the ensuing chase and subsequent killing.
Our pictures below are not necessarily those in the museum.