21st c BCE Mesopotamian Sumerian (Neo) Sculpture
(2150 BCE - 1800 BCE)
c. 2000 BCE
21st c BCE
Telloh (Girsu). Iraq.
Copenhagen. Ny Carlsburg Glyptotek.
The period of Akkadian domination was brought to an end by renewed invasions, and the next development in the history of Near Eastern art arose again out of the non-Semitic cities of Sumer. We call the art of this short period, which lasted for only one hundred and fifty years (from approximately 2150 to 2000 BCE), Neo-Sumerian.
This sculpture is one of the many portraits of the most important ruler of this period, Gudea of Lagash. Where Naram-Sin had advertised his deeds, Gudea advertised his piety, for the many images he created of himself are covered with inscriptions containing prayers and supplications to the gods. The tightly clasped hands of earlier Sumerian art have returned as has the block-like static quality of the sculpture. However, Gudea's characteristic hat will enable you to distinguish his representations from earlier votive images. His figures are also larger than the earlier ones, but that is not possible to distinguish from a computer image. Other portraits show Gudea in a seated pose, but all the portraits display the same static and symmetrical form.