Sumerian Stone Mace Head 

Made of marble, this mace head from the late third millennium BCE would have been fixed to a wooden or metal staff. Used as a weapon in earlier periods, by this time in Mesopotamian history, the mace had become a symbol of authority — a ceremonial object rather than a practical weapon. This mace head bears an inscription in Sumerian by Gudea, a ruler of Lagash, and the inscription states that the object is dedicated to the god Ningišzida, who is connected with vegetation and the underworld. (Source)

Girsu, c. 2200-2100 BCE.

Hearst Museum of Anthropology, University of California at Berkeley. Photo courtesy of CDLI.

Foundation nail dedicated by Gudea of Lagash to Ningirsu for the building of the E-ninnu. Terracotta, ca. 2120 BC. May come from Tello, ancient Girsu.

For Ningirsu, the powerful hero of Enlil, his king, Gudea, prince of Lagash, accomplished what had to be; his temple of E-innu, the shining thunder-bird, he built and restaured.

In Sumeria the gods were given human form, but before this stage was reached the bull symbolized Nannar (Sin), the moon god, Ninip (Saturn, the old sun), and Enlil, while Nergal was a lion, as a tribal sun god. The eagle is represented by the Zu bird, which symbolized the storm and a phase of the sun, and was also a deity of fertility. On the silver vase of Lagash the lion and eagle were combined as the lion-headed eagle, a form of Nin-Girsu (Tammuz), and it was associated with wild goats, stags, lions, and bulls. On a mace head dedicated to Nin-Girsu, a lion slays a bull as the Zu bird slays serpents in the folk tale, suggesting the wars of totemic deities, according to one “school”, and the battle of the sun with the storm clouds according to another. Whatever the explanation may be of one animal deity of fertility slaying another, it seems certain that the conflict was associated with the idea of sacrifice to procure the food supply.
In Assyria the various primitive gods were combined as a winged bull, a winged bull with human head (the king’s), a winged lion with human head, a winged man, a deity with lion’s head, human body, and eagle’s legs with claws, and also as a deity with eagle’s head and feather headdress, a human body, wings, and feather-fringed robe, carrying in one hand a metal basket on which two winged men adored the holy tree, and in the other a fir cone. The Assyrian winged bull at the Metropolitan Museum of Art NY. The black and gold winged leather jacket gold and black scarab slipper collar shirt and dress pants cut sewed and tailored in New York for those who share the same taste from the age of gold. #Fashion #clothes #dapper #menswear #jacket #mensfashion #luxury #tailormade #bespoke #mensuit #leatherjacket #Assyrian #falcon #Egypt #Egyptian #pharaohs #Newyork #instafashion #Metropolitanmuseum #NYFW #nyc #fashionweek #highfashion #stylish #bikerjacket by ramomar_ny

Mesopotamia notes

According to Vitruvius Architecture is




Mesopotamia was the first civilization to have urban planning . Most of the cities were built on tells that were naturally forming elevated areas. These gave a natural fortification for the cities. They had very strict punishments for breaking the laws for building in the cities. The people of Mesopotamia considered city planning. We know this because of the seated statue of Gudea, Girsu. We also know based on the statues of themselves that the people viewed themselves as very worshipful, solemn, and humble.   The White Temple was built at Uruk (Warka, Iraq).


Week 2 & 3 Class Notes

Mesopotamia 4000-600 BCE

  • A land of unpredictable rivers, harsh climate, and natural buttes called “tells.
  • White Temple, Uruk 3500 BCE Present day Warka, Iraq
    • Acropolis (“high city”), terrace, ramp/procession, battered walls, buttressing       pilasters, terra cotta cones
  • Statues of Two “Worshippers” c. 2700 BCE
    • Sumerian & Akkadian- well ornamented, vital, graceful, possessed good form

The Neo-Sumerian Period

  • Seated Statue of Gudea, Girsu
  • Plan of the religious center at Ur 2100 BCE
    • The first ziggurats (stepped pyramids)
    • Set up zoning codes and residential quarter at Ur

            Courtyard houses

  • Breezeway for climate control & has protection
  • Small scale, not a lot of wood

Vaulting Bricks

  • Used in a smaller area
  • Use of mortar was common

Construction materials and techniques:

  • Earth, chopped straw & water
  • Sun dried or fired brick
  • Cone mosaic construction: chevron pattern
  • Engage column within a building


  • Three periods to central governments: Old Kingdom, Middle Kingdom and New Kingdom
  • Old Kingdom
    • The Pyramids
    • A Canon of Proportions
    • 19th century drawing on tomb walls
    • Canon: 18-19 units from head to toe
    • The importance of the afterlife: After death the Ka lives on in the corpse. They believed it was important to see the life of the deceased left behind.
    • The people incorporated inscriptions into their architecture. Somewhat like we do on war memorials.
    • Mastaba Tombs
      • One level sloping battered wall tombs; burial area beneath the surface.
      • Imhotep Mortuary Complex of DeJoser
        • First named architect; stepped pyramid with multiple false tombs; entrance hall shows engaged, fluted columns
          • Simulates bundles of reeds
          • Coursing-stacking of stone at the North Palace
          • Bent Pyramid of Snefru
            • Builds a series of three pyramids: step, bent and red pyramid
            • Pyramid
              • A solid figure with a polygonal base and triangular bases that meet at a common point
              • The Great Pyramids
                • Built in the 4th dynasty under the rulers of Khufu, Khafre, and Menkaure
                • King & Queen coffins were in the lower open chamber
                • Gabled brace or saddle roof; lintels relieved the weight of the pyramid

The Middle Kingdom 2040-1640 BCE

  • Senusret III, 12th Dynasty
  • Temple of Ramses II

The New Kingdom 1550-1070 BCE

  • Hatshepsut’s Mortuary Temple
  • Family portrait of Akhenaton & Nefertiti with their three daughters
    • Created a new city that was laid out on a grid system during his reign
    • Pylon Walls
    • Hypostyle Hall; story of clear space
      • Allows smoke to leave and create an area of mystery