Map of Mesopotamia .

  • Key Dates /Locations
  • Neolithic
    (c. 9000- 4500/4000 BCE)
  • Jericho c 7000- 6000 BCE
  • Çatal Hüyük c 6000 - 5000 BCE
  • Mesopotamia (Modern Iraq)
  • Uruk
  • Uruk period c 3500- 3100 BCE (Uruk)
  • Sumer
  • Early Dynastic (Sites: Tell Asmar, Ur) c. 2800- 2300 BCE
  • Akkad
  • Akkad c. 2300-2100 BCE
  • Neo-Sumerian Site: Lagash) c. 2100 - 1900/1800 BCE
  • Babylon
  • Old Babylonian Period (Babylon) c. 1800-1600 BCE
  • Neo-Babylonian Period (Babylon) c. 612-539 BCE
  • Assyria
  • Assyrian Empire (Assur) c. 1300-612 BCE
  • Anatolia (Modern Turkey)
  • Hittite Empire
  • Hittite Empire (Site: Hattussas (modern Boghazkoy) c 1450-1200 BCE
  • Ancient Iran c. 5000-331 BCE
  • Achaemenid Persia
    559-331 BCE
    (Perseoplis (near modern Shiraz
  • Scythians (Modern Russia and Ukraine) 8th - 4th centuries BCE
  • c 539 - 331 BC BCE
  • Achaemenid Persians
    c 539 - 331 BC
  • Persians c 538 - 330 BC
  • Darius c 550- 486 BC
  • Xerxes 519- 465 BC
  • Overthrown by Alexander the Great (356-323) in 331 BC

“ ”
                   -Author

Sumer: Early Dynastic Period
(c. 2800-2300 BCE)




Statuettes from the Abu Temple,
Tell Asmar,
c. 2700 – 2500 B.C.
Marble with shell limestone inlay

Statues from Abu Temple
(c 2900- 2600 BC)

  • from Temple ruins at Eshnunna (modern Tell Asmar, Iraq)
  • Carved apx 5 centuries after Uruk head
  • Tallest = apx 30"
    Abu- (god of vegetation)
  • 2nd largest =  a mother goddess
  • others =   priests & worshippers
  • the geometric & expressive aspects of the Uruk head rather than the realistic ones survived in the stone sculpture of the early dynastic period
  • early example of Ancient Near East practice to setup of simple small statues of individual worshippers in shrine before elaborate image of a god
  • Votive figures = statues made as an act of worship to the gods depict individuals
  • sheepskin skirts
  • square shoulders
  • face, hair, body, clothing all reduced to simple shapes
  • simple inscriptions: “One who offers prayers”
  • Longer inscriptions document things accomplished in god’s honor
  • Two deities distinguished from the rest by
    • size
    • larger diameter of pupils of their eyes
    • All eyes of the figures = enormous
    • Insistent stare emphasized by colored inlays (still in place)
  • Entire group probably stood in the cella of the Abu temple, the  priests & worshippers confronting the two gods & communicating with them through the eyes
  • "Representation"
    • gods were believed to be present in their images
    • worshippers were stand-ins for the persons portrayed offering prayers or transmitting messages to the deity in their stead
    • No attempt at a real likeness
    • Bodies & faces are rigorously simplified & schematic, to avoid distracting attention from the eyes
    • Eyes = windows of the soul
      PERPETUAL ATTENTION
  • Votive figures = constant prayer to gods.

G2-17
Head formerly believed to be of the god Abu (detail of fig G2-16)  Tell Asmar
c. 2700-2600 BC
Marble w/ shell & black limestone inlay
Substitute detail of votive figures
.

 

 

Conventions of Sumerian Sculpture

  • Where Egyptian sense of form was essentially cubic , Sumerians Based on cone & cylinder
  • Arms & legs have the roundness of pipes
  • long skirts worn by figures (smoothly curved as if turned on a lathe)
  • Even in later times when Mesopotamian sculpture had acquired a richer repertory of shapes, this quality asserted itself again an again.
  • homage to their gods
    seen in figures of worshippers
    • stand rigidly frontal,
    • complete symmetry,
    • hands tightly clasped in prayer
    • eyes abnormally large

Web Resources