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• • • • • • • • • Civilized societies Trade, administration, warfare Urban communities Clear social structure;- administrative organization Invention in writing New ways of paying for goods and labors Tradition of ancestral worship Belief in life after death Myths revolving around Water, Sun and Life after Death occupied an important place
• All these processes were repeated with only slight variations as each of the early civilization began to evolve in different widely separated parts of the world. • Similarities in different aspects among these civilizations can be found • Reasons can be – trade and invasion
River Valley Civilizations
Mesopotamia - Tigris and Euphrates • Harrapan - Indus valley • China – Yellow river valley • Egypt – River Nile
Present day. Turkey. Jordan..Israel. Lebanon. Syria. Iran and Iraq .
pipes. agriculture. It includs non-Semitic Sumerians.mud brick.500 B. irrigation. Gods took on human forms and humans were combined with animals to make fantastic creatures. Over the course of 4000 years. schools. harps and drums accompanied their songs and dances. farming and moved us from prehistory to history. and Assyrians. Babylonians. The soil of Mesopotamia yielded the civilization's major building material .Art of Mesopotamia (9000 . Variety of metals. Art became decorative. stylized and conventionalized at different times and places. . as well as shells and precious stones. It's giving Mesopotamia the reputation of being the cradle of civilization. The most ancient civilizations known to man first developed there writing. written law codes.C) This is the land between the Tigris and Euphrates rivers which roughly comprises modern Iraq and part of Syria. and certain types had to be imported for sculpture. were used for the finest sculpture and inlays. Lyres. The name does not refer to any particular civilization using that name. libraries. Large temples and imposing palaces dotted the landscape. History and poetry for the first time was recorded and set down to music. Stone was rare. the art of Mesopotamia reveals a tradition that appears. followed by the Semitic Akkadians. homogeneous in style and iconography.
and Eshnunna. Archaeological sites are Hassuna. A new type of building was introduced . Eshnuna.C. One of the most remarkable artifacts remaining from this period is known as The Standard of Ur. and Akkad. The Akkadian cities are Sippar.C. Little Akkadian art remains. before writing.Art of Mesopotamia Prehistoric Period Mesopotamian art of the period.) The Sumerians developed pottery and jewellery. from 7000 to 3500 B. Assur. Kish. Akkadians united the whole of Mesopotamia. Lagash. Akkadian Period In the late 24th century B.Significant Akkadian innovations were those of the seal cutters.Old Sumerian (From 3000 to 2340 B. under Sargon I.city-states centers of this epoch are Ur.C.. . Tell Brak. Early Dynastic Period . was fully developed. Samarra and Tell Halaf. Umma.
and Lagash to reestablish their power.C. Old Babylonian Period The land was once more united by Semitic rulers (about 2000-1600 B. Neo-Babylonian Period (626-539 B.C.C. the capital. Assyrian Empire (From 1700 B. who did not centralize their power.C. This enabled the Sumerian cities of Uruk.Art of Mesopotemia • Neo-Sumerian Period (From 2112 to 2004 B. Gypsum alabaster.) The Akkadian Empire fell to the nomadic Guti. The most important ruler was Hammurabi of Babylon. Sculptors were at their best in depicting hunting scenes. The most original art of the Babylonian period came from Mari. . They did not establish a new style or iconography. to 100 B. Royal chronicles in battle and in the hunt were recounted in horizontal bands with cuneiform texts. The art of the late Assyrian seal cutter is a combination of realism and mythology.) The Babylonians defeated the Assyrians in 612 B.C. was more easily carved than the hard stones used by the Sumerians and Akkadians. is a time of great builders. Ur.C. The technique of polychromed glazing of bricks was used. and sacked Nimrud and Nineveh. The Neo-Assyrian period. Kings adorned palaces with magnificent reliefs.) It shows different from established Babylonian stylistic traditions both in religious subjects and secular themes. 1000-612 B.).C. Neo-Babylonian creativity manifested itself architecturally at Babylon. At times mythological figures are portrayed. They built ziggurats for temples.
Sumerian Art .
Mesopotamian ziggurat .
mud brick .E.C.White Temple and ziggurat Uruk (modern Warka) Iraq ca.200-3.000 B. 3.
south. There priests were in attendance with sacrificial offerings. This stepped pyramid was the link between the mortal king and the god ANU. Human priests tended the vast holdings of the temples. They believed that after the god descended from the high heaven. The Ziggurat and temple were located in the middle of town. The White Temple is located on the compass points of north. derived from the Assyrian word meaning "raised up" or " high". he went to the shrine atop the ziggurat. The ziggurat. It was laid out with offering tables and an alter in a sanctuary. rented out plots of land to be worked by the farmers on a sharecropping basis (part of which went to the priests).The ziggurat Uruk is present day Iraq. is uniquely found in the fertile crescent of the rivers Tigris and the Euphrates. Records were kept by a written language called cuneiform writing. . east and west and atop the ziggurat. The god was believed to come down to a residence prepared for him in town.
E.C.Ziggurat at Ur (modern Tell Muqayyar) Iraq ca.100 B. mud brick . 2.
2 four-wheeled wooden wagons drawn by 6 oxen. Accompanying the chariot were skeletons of 2 donkeys that pulled it. as well as a wooden sledge chariot edged in red. These sacrifices of humans imply that the king was superhuman and as a matter of honor his court was also sacrificed so that they could remain inseparable from him when he passed to another world. The King was identified from the cylinder seal as A-BAR-GI. It contained 65 people who were immolated (sacrificed) with the King.The ziggurat Near the Ziggurat of Ur a royal tomb was unearthed. white and blue mosaic and decorated on its side panels with golden lion heads. . lapis and carnelian adorned the skeletons of 10 women carefully placed in the two rows of the burial pit that accompanied the queen. their grooms and a silver rein ring surmounted by a superbly modeled gold donkey. Buried with both rulers were 6 soldiers. Splendid head dresses of gold. Each person sacrificed died by drinking poison. and 25 more people were found with the jeweled body of his queen. with their grooms and drivers.
marble approximately 8 in.Female head (possibly Inanna) from Uruk (modern Warka) Iraq ca. 3.C.000 B.E. high .200-3.
No clearly identifiable cult statues of gods or goddesses have yet been found. probably a depiction of Inanna.C. ." or "Statue. • .100 B. but unknown if this stone head is Inana. is one of the earliest representations of the human face. and may have been incorporated into a larger cult image." The Mask of Warka. 2003.Lady of Uruk • • • Found in a sacred precinct of the goddess Inana. The carved marble female face is. Inana was the God of love/war. say to my king (god). Practically all Sumerian sculpture served as adornment or ritual equipment for the temples. . It was later recovered in September 2003 and returned to the museum. Many of the extant figures in stone are votive statues. The stone head sculpture is known to be misleading. also known as the 'Lady of Uruk' and the 'Sumerian Mona Lisa'. It is approximately 20 cm tall. . It would of been painted. as indicated by the phrases used in the inscriptions that they often bear: "It offers prayers. dating from 3. The mask was looted from the National Museum of Iraq during the fall of Baghdad in April.. have a wig or the missing body would have probably been clothed in expensive fabrics.
c. limestone. and gypsum .2500 BCE. Tell Asmar. shell. from the Temple of Abu.Votive Statues.
both often trimmed in corrugations and painted black.Statuettes of worhippers Male statues stand or sit with hands clasped in an attitude of prayer. from Tall al-Asmar. Iraq (ancient Eshnunna). A toga-like garment sometimes covers one shoulder. Yet. though technically more competently carved. all these figures adhere to the single formula of presenting the conventional characteristics of Sumerian physiognomy. shows a geometric simplification of forms that. Beyond this general characteristic of Sumerian sculpture. some scholars see evidence of occasional attempts at portraiture. meaning “thick cloak”). A headdress of folded linen sometimes conceals the hair. Men generally wear long hair and a heavy beard. Ritual nakedness wasconfined to priests. is ingenious and aesthetically acceptable. show aspirations to naturalism that are sometimes overly ambitious. in spite of minor variations. Statues characteristic of the second phase on the other hand. One very notable group of figures. In this second style. The eyes and eyebrows are emphasized with colored inlay. dating from the first of these phases. . two successive styles have been distinguished in the middle and late subdivisions of the Early Dynastic period. to modern taste. The female coiffure varies considerably but predominantly consists of a heavy coil arranged vertically from ear to ear and a chignon behind. They are often naked above the waist and wear a woolen skirt curiously woven in a pattern that suggests overlapping petals (commonly described by the Greek word kaunakes.
high .200-3. alabaster approximately 3 ft.000 B.E.Warka Vase from Uruk (modern Warka) Iraq ca. 3.C.
dated to ca. 3. • The horizontal bands called registers. located in the modern Al Muthanna Governorate. in southern Iraq. Vase is carved in low relief.000 BC.Warka Vase • The Warka Vase or the Uruk Vase is a carved alabaster stone vessel found in the temple complex of the Sumerian goddess Inanna in the ruins of the ancient city of Uruk. The vase was a harbinger of the hope-forrenewal of the fertility of the soil after the winter of sterility. Like the Narmer Palette from Egypt.200–3. it is one of the earliest surviving works of narrative relief sculpture. .
stands. She is being offered a bowl of fruit and grain by a nude figure. such as the natural reeds and cultivated grain. . Above this vegetation is a procession of animals. one of the chief goddesses of Mesopotamia and later known as Ishtar in the Akkadian pantheon. The vase has three registers . Inanna.stands nearby with the procession approaching him from behind. The top register is a full scene. signified by two bundles of reeds behind her.presumably a chieftain/priest . The bottom register depicts the vegetation in the Tigris and Euphrates delta. A figure in ceremonial clothing .or tiers . such as fruit and grain. rather than a continuous pattern.of carving. The procession continues in the second register with nude males carrying bowls and jars of sacrificial elements.Warka Vase – contd. such as oxen and sheep presented in a strict profile view. the procession ends at the temple area. In this register.
. lapis lazuli.600 B. shell.C.Standard of Ur from Tomb 779. Royal Cemetery Ur (modern Tell Muqayyar) Iraq ca. red limestone approximately 8 x 19 in. 2. wood.E.
lapis lazuli.Standard of Ur (war side) from Tomb 779. red limestone approximately 8 x 19 in.600 B.E. wood. shell. Royal Cemetery Ur (modern Tell Muqayyar) Iraq ca. 2. .C.
red limestone approximately 8 x 19 in.Standard of Ur (peace side) from Tomb 779. Royal Cemetery Ur (modern Tell Muqayyar) Iraq ca. . shell. lapis lazuli. wood. 2.C.600 B.E.
found crushed in a royal tomb at Ur. The Standard of Ur dates from around 2600 . Ca. The Standard of Ur is a rectangular box.2400 BCE. Some historians have suggested that it used to be carried on a pole.The Standard of Ur • The Standard of Ur (also known as the "Battle Standard of Ur. It is essentially a hollow wooden box measuring 21. borne as a standard. • • . 2600 BCE. red limestone and lapis lazuli. as the effects of time over the last several millennia had decayed the wooden frame and bitumen glue which had cemented the mosaic in place. The original shape and purpose of this object is not conclusively understood.59 x 49. It has also been speculated that it was the soundbox of a musical instrument.5 x 19.5 inches) inlaid with a mosaic of shell. (8." or the "Royal Standard of Ur") is a Sumerian artifact excavated from what had been the Royal Cemetery in the ancient city of Ur (located in modern-day Iraq south of Baghdad).53 cm. It is currently in a reconstructed state.
and in weapons. depicted Drinking wine with musical accompaniment. and other infantrymen bearing sickle-like knives or axes. and it is likely that they were used primarily for transport and defense). drawn by teams of some sort of equids (possibly onagers or domestic asses) trampling enemies (although these solid-wheeled early chariots must have been rather unwieldy in battle. implements. and other goods (possibly war booty) before seated figures. engaged in what is believed to be a border skirmish and its aftermath. • • • . Battle scenes include four-wheeled chariots. and humiliated. The inlay and enrichment of wooden objects reaches its peak in this period. "Peace" portrays a ba victory celebration at court. The refinement of craftsmanship in metal is also apparent in the famous wig-helmet of gold. while a lyrist entertains the throng. bringing food and booty to court. naked. belonging to a Sumerian prince. as may be seen in the double-sided panel of the standatrd from Ur. • The Standard of Ur has two main panels." "War" is one of the earliest representations of a Sumerian army. on which elaborate scenes of peace and war are depicted in a delicate inlay of shell and semiprecious stones. spearmen clad in armored cloaks.contd. wounded. Panels also depict prisoners.The Standard of Ur. being presented to the king. fish. which have been named "War" and "Peace. Attendants parade animals. and utensils.
Akkadian Art .
high .C.E.Victory stele of Naram-Sin from Susa. sandstone 79 in. 2. Iran ca.218 B.254-2.
it still strikingly reveals the pride. The stele broke from tradition by using successive diagonal tiers. and made from pink sandstone. This may be the first instance in history when a king was depicted as a god. and the first to be called "King of the Four Quarters". France. and his enemies.The Victory stele of Naram-Sin Naram-Sin (also transcribed Narām-Sîn. 2190–2154 BCE. The stele was found at Susa. Naram-Sin's famed victory stele (illustration) depicts him as a god-king (symbolized by his horned helmet) climbing a mountain above his soldiers. at Pir Hüseyin. Although the stele was broken off at the top when it was stolen and carried off by the Elamites. the defeated Lullubi. was the third successor and grandson of Sargon of Akkad. He was the first Mesopotamian king to claim divinity ("Sin" refers to god) for himself. rather than a horizontal format. and is now in the Louvre Museum in Paris. glory. to communicate the story to viewers. A similar bas-relief depicting Naram-Suen was found a few miles north-east of Diarbekr. under Naram-Sin the Akkadian Empire reached its zenith. . It is six feet and seven inches tall. and divinity of Naram-Sin. Naram-Suen )ca.
E.C. Iran ca. high . 2. sandstone 79 in.Victory stele of Naram-Sin from Susa.218 B.254-2.
Their disorganizatin leave shows the uncivilized and barbaric nature. • Naram-Sin's soldiers march in an orderly fashion up the side of the mountain. Everyone in the piece looks up towards Naram-Sin. which makes their defeat a victory over the weak. The defeated's unorganized manner reinforces their subordination. .The Victory stele of Naram-Sin • The Victory Stele of Naram-Sin is a relieved depiction of the King's victory. Shown from the Victors point of view. while the defeated fall in a hodge podge manner down the mountain. it gives a different take on what happened during the battle. who has a heroic and God-like stance ontop of the mountain. • The hierarchy of scale shows Naram-Sin is the most important figure in the piece.
NaramSin's upward glance towards the suns show he is paying respect and tribute to the God. so they too pay respect and honor their victory. he too looks up towards the sky. . since he was given power by God. In looking toward Naram-Sin. perhaps the same one that empowered Naram-Sin. Though he is a person. However. The suns are repersenational of a greater power. just like his troops. symbolizing his divine power. he does look at the suns above the mountain. the troops also look towards the suns.The Sun and Naram-Sin Naram-Sin himself wears a helmet with horns. Though he does not have any person to look up to. his divine power makes it okay for him to violently over take the Lullubi people.
E. Dar Sharrukin (modern Khorsabad) Iraq ca. high . 10 in. limestone 13 ft.Lamassu (winged human headed bull) from the citadel of Sargon II.C. 720-705 B.
The use of five feet for the winged monster made it possible for the spectator to see the bull either as immobile (when viewed from the front) or in movement (when viewed from the side). bull. Symbols combining man. stood guard at the entrance gates. He is often shown on Cylinder Seals.The Lamassu • The Lamassu is a celestial being from Mesopotamian mythology. Human-headed winged bulls were protective genies called shedu or lamassu. sometimes with wings. He holds the gates of dawn open for the sun god Shamash and supports the sun disc. designed to ward off evil spirits. He is a human above the waist and a bull below the waist. • • • . Figures of bulls with human heads. The bull man helps people fight evil and chaos. and bird. they offered protection against enemies. It appears frequently in Mesopotamian art. the revival in southern Mesopotamia was marked principally by its architecture. and were placed as guardians at certain gates or doorways of the city and the palace. He also has the horns and the ears of a bull. After the fall of Nineveh in 612bc. The gigantic palace of Sargon II (721-705bc) in the city of Khorsabad was encircled by massive walls. Statues of the bull-man were often used as gatekeepers.
Assyrian Art .
high .C. gypsum approximately 5 ft.Ashurbanipal hunting lions from the North Palace of Ashurbanipal. 645-640 B.E. Ninevah (modern Kuyunjik) Iraq ca.
and was especially glorified by the Neo-Assyrians who used it repeatedly in decorating their palace walls. He was fond of erecting the decapitated heads of enemies on pillars and covering the city walls with their skins. other animals were used as game. there was the testimony of Assurnasirpal II. dismembered and skinned alive. In addition. The Royal Hunt was a popular subject in ancient Near Eastern art. Although the hunting of lions was the most frequently depicted activity in the hunt reliefs. as their biblical role as the oppressors of Israel. such as bulls and gazelle. • . who boasted in cuneiform inscription of having rebellious chieftains impaled on stakes. He boastfully said to have colored the mountains red with slaughtered enemies and animals.Ashurbanipal hunting lions • The Assyrians were known for their ferocious cruelty. This relief shows king Ashurbanipal (668c. Assyria became a formidable military force under his rule.627 BCE) hunting on horseback.
The animal leaps at the king even though it already has to arrows in the body (to make the king appear strong). who in his chariot and with his attendants thrust a spear into a savage lion. the lion charges the king. the swelling veins. the muscles wrinkled skin and flattened ears of the powerful defiant beast. Its unlikely that the kings artists had any intention other that to glorify their ruler by showing the king of men pitting himself against and repeatedly conquering the king of beasts. ensuring the kings safetly and success. The artist brilliantly depicted the straining muscles.Ashurbanipal hunting lions • Hunt did not take place in the wild but in a controlled environment. Portraying Ashurbanipal's beastly foes as possessing not merely strength but courage and nobility served to make the king's accomplishments that much grander. In the relief illustrated here. .
Neo-Babylonian Art .
575 B. glazed brick .E. Iraq ca.C.Ishtar Gate (restored) from Babylon.
The reconstruction of the Ishtar Gate in the Pergamon Museum in Berlin .
Only the foundations of the gate were found. of dragons and young bulls. so its original height is different in size. the so-called Processional Way.The Ishtar Gate • The Ishtar Gate. The Babylonians would assemble in front of it and march through the triumphal arch and proceed along the Sacred Way to the 7-story Ziggurat. colorful and water-resistant. which was crowned near the temple of Marduk. was built during the reign of Nebuchadnezzar II (604. and carried off the Jews into exile. The Ishtar gate was decorated with glazed brick reliefs. one of the eight gates of the inner city of Babylon. Through the gatehouse ran a stone-and brick-paved avenue. with the dragon Marduk as the symbol of the city and its patron. unglazed figures. in tiers. and on its south side was a vast antechamber. The gateway has been reconstructed in the Pergamon Museum. The Ishtar Gate was the starting point for processions. going down some 45 feet. with molded. In front of the gateway outside the city was a road with walls decorated with relief's of lions and glazed yellow tiles. Lions and dragons. A round arch was used in the Ishtar Gate. brought the kingdom of Judah to an end. The dark blue bricks were glazed in a clay firing in a kiln (high temperature oven) that made clay bricks durable. • • • . from the glazed bricks found. The Bible records that it was Nebuchadnezzar who destroyed Jerusalem. Its relief's of dragons and bulls symbolized the gods Marduk and Adad. It is one of the most impressive monuments rediscovered in the ancient Near East. The gate itself was a double one. The walls and towers were topped with crenelation. The gateway was completely covered with beautifully colored glazed bricks. which has been traced over a length of more than half a mile. Berlin.562 BC). Reconstructed height is 47 feet. decorated the gate. Enameled tiles of glorious blue surrounded the brightly colored yellow and brown beasts.
Ishtar Gate (restored) details of dragon (Marduk) and bull (Adad) from Babylon.C. glazed brick .E. Iraq ca. 575 B.
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