ancient-near-east

“Excavation of Persepolis (Iran): Gate of All Lands, Colossal Sculptures Depicting Man-Bulls: View before Excavation, Looking North-West”

1923-1928

glass negative from the Ernst Herzfeld Papers

Freer and Sackler Galleries

A Babylonian Princess Poet

Enheduanna, the daughter of King Sargon of Akkad (2334-2279 BCE), composed numerous poems and hymns, such as the one above written in Sumerian and dedicated to the goddess Inanna (the Sumerian counterpart to Ishtar). During her lifetime, Enheduanna served as a high priestess of the moon god, Nanna, in the city of Ur. A genuine creative talent, she is also remembered as one of the first named authors in history. Although the tablet above is somewhat damaged, it provides a good example of a later copy of one of her hymns, which shows that her work continued to be read and taught in scribal schools well into the second millennium BCE. (Source)

Schoyen Collection, MS 2367/1.

Sumerian Dedication Nail

Lagash (present-day Telloh, Iraq), ca. 2100 BC (Neo-Sumerian)

Body H: (16 x 4.5 cm); Diam of Head: (6.9 cm)

Clay nails such as this one inscribed with the name of King Gudea of Lagash were embedded in the upper parts of walls, sometimes with the head protruding. They may have developed from the custom of hammering a peg into a wall to signal ownership. This example bears a dedication to a deity and would have symbolically marked a temple as divine property.

(In the Walters Museum of Art)

Stamp-cylinder seal 

The seal shows mythological scenes, a god is sitting on a throne on the left of the image before five other gods that approach him, one of these gods has two faces. On the right of the image a deitie is slaying a fallen enemie, while two other enemies are burning on a pyre.

Anatolian, Hittite Period, 1650 - 1200 BC. 

Location is unknown but it is said to have been found on Cyprus. 

Source: Museum of Fine Arts, Boston