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There seems to be no definitive answer as to the placement of the staves:

Exodus 25:14: And thou shalt put the staves into the rings by the sides of the ark, that the ark may be borne with them.

Were they along the length, or breadth, of the Ark?

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    Everything recorded as to the 'pattern shown in the mount' has spiritual significance. If no spiritual significance attaches to a dimension or shape, then there will be no mention of it and it would be purely a matter of opinion to speculate. – Nigel J Mar 1 at 5:33
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    The ark was a seat that someone sat in. How would you want to be carried? – R. Emery Mar 1 at 7:55
  • @R.Emery - I agree but this still does not answer the question, which, I believe, is unanswerable. – Dottard Mar 1 at 9:21
  • From a couple of images from a religious gift shop: the conventional representation has the staves along the long sides, but a less common alternative is to show them along the short sides – Henry Mar 1 at 10:53
  • I would happily post an image I made that would answer your question but the last time I did so it was deleted. – R. Emery Mar 1 at 11:53
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HaKohanim הַכֹּהֲנִים֙ The-Priests in Devarim 31:9 (Deuteronomy 31:9) were required to carry HaAron הָאָרֹ֑ן (The-Ark) by lifting the poles kept in the rings attached to צַלְעֹ֣ת הָאָרֹ֑ן Tsalot HaAron [Shemot 25:14]. The צַלְעֹ֣ת Tsalot (side walls) refers to the “Length” of HaAron הָאָרֹ֑ן The-Ark, along the 2.5 cubit sides (left & right of the Keruvim).

Exodus / Shemot 25:10

"They shall make an ark of acacia wood, two and a half cubits its length, a cubit and a half its width, and a cubit and a half its height." ( וְעָשׂ֥וּ אֲר֖וֹן עֲצֵ֣י שִׁטִּ֑ים אַמָּתַ֨יִם וָחֵ֜צִי אָרְכּ֗וֹ וְאַמָּ֤ה וָחֵ֨צִי֙ רָחְבּ֔וֹ וְאַמָּ֥ה וָחֵ֖צִי קֹֽמָתֽוֹ )

Exodus / Shemot 25:12

And you shall cast four golden rings for it, and you shall place them upon its four corners, two rings on its one side, and two rings on its other side. ( וְיָצַ֣קְתָּ לּ֗וֹ אַרְבַּע֙ טַבְּעֹ֣ת זָהָ֔ב וְנָ֣תַתָּ֔ה עַ֖ל אַרְבַּ֣ע פַּֽעֲמֹתָ֑יו וּשְׁתֵּ֣י טַבָּעֹ֗ת עַל־צַלְעוֹ֙ הָֽאֶחָ֔ת וּשְׁתֵּי֙ טַבָּעֹ֔ת עַל־צַלְע֖וֹ הַשֵּׁנִֽית )

Exodus / Shemot 25:14

And you shall bring the poles into the rings on the sides of the ark, to carry the ark with them. ( וְהֵֽבֵאתָ֤ אֶת־הַבַּדִּים֙ בַּטַּבָּעֹ֔ת עַ֖ל צַלְעֹ֣ת הָֽאָרֹ֑ן לָשֵׂ֥את אֶת־הָֽאָרֹ֖ן בָּהֶֽם )

HaAron was traditionally carried on the shoulders of Benei Qehat בְנֵ֥י קְהָ֖ת the Sons of Kohath (Kohathites) stated וְלִבְנֵ֥י קְהָ֖ת לֹ֣א נָתָ֑ן כִּֽי־עֲבֹדַ֤ת הַקֹּ֙דֶשׁ֙ עֲלֵהֶ֔ם בַּכָּתֵ֖ף יִשָּֽׂאוּ in Numbers / Bamidbar 7:9. - **If the Sons of Qehat & HaKohanim were approaching you with HaAron (without the blue wool cloth covering), you would see a Keruv's back bowing to דְבַר־יְ֠הֹוָה the Word of YHVH. **

Numbers / Bamidbar 4:5

"When the camp is about to travel, Aaron and his sons shall come and take down the dividing screen; with it, they shall cover the Ark of the Testimony." ( וּבָ֨א אַֽהֲרֹ֤ן וּבָנָיו֙ בִּנְסֹ֣עַ הַמַּֽחֲנֶ֔ה וְהוֹרִ֕דוּ אֵ֖ת פָּרֹ֣כֶת הַמָּסָ֑ךְ וְכִ֨סּוּ־בָ֔הּ אֵ֖ת אֲרֹ֥ן הָֽעֵדֻֽת )

Numbers / Bamidbar 4:6

"They shall place upon it a covering of tachash skin and on top of that they shall spread a cloth of pure blue wool. Then they shall put its poles in place." ( וְנָֽתְנ֣וּ עָלָ֗יו כְּסוּי֙ ע֣וֹר תַּ֔חַשׁ וּפָֽרְשׂ֧וּ בֶֽגֶד־כְּלִ֛יל תְּכֵ֖לֶת מִלְמָ֑עְלָה וְשָׂמ֖וּ בַּדָּֽיו )

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  • Whether the "side" refers to the length or the breadth depends on which way the ark is facing – R. Emery Mar 1 at 13:42

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