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ANCIENT
EASTERN
NEAR
ART

THEMETROPOLITAN
MUSEUMOF ART

On the cover: The stag vessel with a frieze depicting a religious scene is a rare example of Hittitesilverware. It is part of a collection of silver and gold
objects from Anatolia generously lent by Norbert Schimmel for the newly installed permanent galleries of ancient Near Eastern art. Inside covers:
Reliefs from the Northwest Palace of Assurnasirpal 11(883-859 B.C.). Above: Lion's-head dress ornament (see fig. 67).

The Metropolitan Museum of Art


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This Bulletincelebratesthe new installationof


the Metropolitan's
collectionof ancientNear
Easternart.Itis dedicatedto the memoryof
CuratorinCharge
VaughnE.Crawford,
formerly
of thatdepartment,underwhose leadership
the plansforthe new gallerieswere initiated.
Hiseffortsand those of his colleagues now
culminatein a significantachievementinthe
historyof the Museum:oursubstantialholdings of ancientNearEasternartwillbe once
againfullydisplayed.
Formanyreaders,"ancientNearEastern
art"bringsto mindthe monumentalreliefs
fromthe Assyrianpalace of AssurnasirpalII,
whichcommandthe firstgalleryof the new
otherswillthinkof the strong,
installation;
compactsculptureof Gudea,governorof
Lagash,the stridinglionsfromBabylon,orthe
imposingsilverhead of a Sasanian king,all
highlightsof previousinstallations.NowMuseum visitorswillhavethe chance to become
acquaintedwiththe fullrangeof ancientNear
Easternart,producedovera span of more
thansix thousandyears and across a vast
regionthatincludesancientMesopotamia,
Iran,Syria,Anatolia,and otherlands.The
visitor'stourof the chronologicallyarranged
installationconcludeswiththe splendidcourtly

artof the Achaemenidand Sasanian dynasties of Iran,housed ingalleriesleadinglogicallyto the Islamicdepartment,whose holdings
date fromthe seventh centuryA.D.to the modern era.
Althoughthe Departmentof AncientNear
EasternArtwas notofficiallyestablisheduntil
1956, the historyof the collectionbegan much
earlierwithsubstantialgiftsfromJ. Pierpont
MorganandJohn D. Rockefeller,Jr. Charles
K.Wilkinson,a specialistinthe fieldaffiliated
withthe Museumsince 1920, administeredthe
departmentfrom1956 untilhis retirementin
1963, when VaughnCrawford,a prominent
Sumerologist,tookcharge.Bothmen were
seasoned archaeologistsand each furthered
the Museumexpeditionsindispensableto a
deeper understandingof this art.AlthoughDr.
Crawforddied in 1981, he livedlongenough to
see the completionof the Raymondand BeverlySacklerGalleryforAssyrianArt,which
opened in the springof thatyear.He was
succeeded by PrudenceO. Harper,who has
of the
supervisedthe rest of the reinstallation
collection.
The new galleriesare a tributealso to those
collectorswhose giftsand supporthaveenrichedand strengthenedthe collection.We

thankthe RightReverendPaulMoore,Jr.,
Bishopof the EpiscopalDiocese of New York,
forthe long-termloanof the Mrs.WilliamH.
Moorecollectionof seals. Weare most gratefulforthe recentgiftsof glypticartfromDr.and
Mrs.MartinCherkaskyand the two largegifts
of seals, tools, weapons, and vessels of westernCentralAsiafromJudge Steven D. Robinson and SheldonLewisBreitbart.Special
thanksgo to NorbertSchimmel,forhis great
generosityto the departmentovera long periodof time-reflected inthe numerousgifts
and loans highlighting
the galleries-and his
importantroleinthe developmentof the
collection.
Forthe installationitselfwe are deeply
indebtedto The HagopKevorkian
Fund;James
N.Spear;The DillonFund;the NationalEndowmentforthe Humanities;and Raymondand
BeverlySackler,whofundedthe expansionof
the gallerythatbears theirnames. Onlya few
of the manydonorsand supporterswho have
aidedthe growthof the departmentcan be
acknowledgedinthisbriefspace, butallshould
take prideinthe new installationand the role
they playedin itsformation.
Philippede Montebello
Director

INTRODUCTION
Mesopotamia, the heart of the Near East
and the land that has produced the first
traces of civilization,lies between two great
rivers,the Tigris and the Euphrates. These
riverswere majorroutes of communication,
opening the way to distant regions and
encouraging contacts between the settle-

ments thatsprang up as earlyas the


seventh millenniumB.C.Intime, irrigation
canals were constructedto divertthe
watersand bringfertilityto landswhere
rainfallalone was notadequateto support
agriculture.
Twoimportantdevelopmentsare often
associated withthe beginningof civilization:the establishmentof largepopulation
centers withincities, and the introduction
of a system of writing.Archaeological
excavationshave revealedthatthis stage
inthe historyof mankindwas reached
shortlybefore3000 B.C.in southern
Mesopotamia.Urbancenters replacedthe
pastoralvillagecultures,and specialized

societies withpriests,scribes, craftsmen,


and farmerscame intoexistence. The
people responsibleforthis urbanrevolution,as it has been called, were the
Sumerians.They enteredMesopotamia
sometimeduringthe fifthmillenniumand
developedthe firstknownscript,a system
of pictographsthatlaterevolved into
wedge-shapedcuneiformsigns.
Throughthe millennia,southernMesopotamiaremainedan importantcenter,
strategicallylocatedon landand water
routesto Egyptand the Mediterranean
worldinthe west, and to the IndusValley
and CentralAsia inthe east. The capital
cities of the Sumerians, Akkadians,
Babylonians,Kassites, Seleucids, Parthians, and Sasanians all lay in this fertile
agricultural
region.Because southern
Mesopotamiais poorin naturalresources
-primarily metal,stone, and wood-the
inhabitantsof Sumerestablishedcontacts at an earlyperiodwithneighboring

countriesrichin rawmaterials.Excavationsof Urukperiod(ca. 3500-3100


B.C.) settlementshave revealedthatthe
Sumerianstradedwithpeoples livingin
Anatolia,Syria,and Iran,and maintained
outposts inthese lands. By the mid-third
millenniumB.C.gold, silver,tin,copper,
and semipreciousstones (carnelianand
lapislazuli)were importedfromthe regions east and west of Mesopotamia.
This livelytradeis documentedinthe
cuneiformtexts and in the richand exotic
burialsin the RoyalCemetaryat Ur(see
fig. 66). A thrivingtextileindustrydeveloped in Sumer,and the woven goods
manufacturedinthe south formedan
importantpartof its foreigntrade.
The Sumerianlanguagedoes not belongto a recognizedlinguisticgroup,
and consequentlythe ethnicoriginof
the Sumeriansis not yet known.They
were succeeded, however,by a Semitic
people, the Akkadians,who had entered

The MetropolitanMuseumof ArtBulletin


Spring1984
VolumeXLI,Number4 (ISSN0026-1521)
Museumof Art,FifthAvenueand 82nd Street,New York,N.Y10028. Second-class postage paid at
Publishedquarterly? 1984 by The Metropolitan
New York,N.Yand AdditionalMailingOffices. Subscriptions$18.00 a year.Single copies $4.75. Sent free to Museummembers. Fourweeks' notice
requiredfor change of address. Back issues availableon microfilm,fromUniversityMicrofilms,313 N. FirstStreet,Ann Arbor,Michigan.Volumes
I-XXVIII
(1905-1942) availableas a clothboundreprintset or as individualyearlyvolumes fromThe AyerCompany,Publishers,Inc.,99 MainStreet,
Salem, N.H.03079, or fromthe Museum,Box 700, MiddleVillage,N.Y11379. GeneralManagerof Publications:John P O'Neill,Editorin Chiefof the
Bulletin:Joan Holt.Associate Editor:Joanna Ekman.Photography:LyntonGardiner,The MetropolitanMusuemof ArtPhotographStudio. Design:
AlvinGrossman.
2

The Metropolitan Museum of Art


is collaborating with JSTOR to digitize, preserve, and extend access to
The Metropolitan Museum of Art Bulletin

www.jstor.org

southernMesopotamia,probablyfrom
the west, duringthe centuriesof Sumerian
domination.This new dynasty(23342154 B.C.) expanded its controlwithin
Mesopotamiaand made its presence felt,
throughtradeand militaryinvasion,as far
as the "cedarforests"of Lebanon,the
Taurusmountains,and
"silver-bearing"
the highlandsof Iran.The artsflourished
duringthe Akkadianera. Seal stones are
finelycarvedwithelaboratemythological
scenes (see fig. 30); stone and metal
sculpturesare of highartisticandtechnical
quality.
This periodof brillianceended with
invasionsof Guti,tribesmenfromthe
Zagrosmountains,who disruptedthe
course of lifeinsouthernMesopotamia.
Duringthe followingdecades a few
Sumeriancity-statesgraduallyreestablishedtheirauthorityover a limitedarea.
One of these states, Lagash,was ruled
by Gudea (fig.2), who is prominentin the
historyof ancientNear Easternartbecause of the largenumberof massive
dioritesculpturesthathave survivedfrom
the periodof his rule(2144-2124 B.C.).
By the end of the thirdmillenniumB.C.
a new wave of Semiticpeoples, Amorites
fromthe ArabianDesert, had spread into
Mesopotamia and Syria. A common
writtenlanguage,the OldBabyloniandialect of Akkadian,came intouse over a
widearea and opened the wayto increasinglyefficientcommunications.The most
famousof the Amoriterulersis Hammurabi
of Babylon(1792-1750 B.C.),whose code
of laws, based on earlierSumerianmodels, is a comprehensiverecordof legal
practicesand an importantdocumentfor
the historyof Mesopotamiancivilization.
Interconnectionsin the Near East, both
peacefuland warlike,increasedduring
the second millennium.Assyrianmerchants fromthe northof Mesopotamia
establishedtradingcolonies inAnatolia
(see fig. 73); Hittitekingsrulingin central
AnatoliamarriedBabylonian,Hurrian,
and Egyptianprincesses; Elamitearmies
fromsouthernIraninvadedMesopotamiaand carriedoffstatues of the kings
and gods to the capitalat Susa.
The firstmillenniumwas a periodof
greatempiresinAssyria,Babylonia,and
AchaemenidIran.Assyria-or northern
Mesopotamia-differsgeographically
fromits southernneighbor,Babylonia.
Cropsgrownon the fertilenorthernplains
producedsufficientfood forAssyriaand
sustained her armiesand herempirein
times of expansion.Stone and timber,
whichthe south lacked,were also available inthe moretemperatemountain
countryof the north.WhileBabylonia

was to some extentborderedand enclosed by the Tigrisand Euphratesrivers,


Assyriawas notclearlydefinedby natural
features,and so its boundariesexpandedor contracteddependingon the
balanceof powerwithinthe region.Inthe
firstmillenniumB.C.-fromthe ninthto
the seventh century-Assyria achieved
supremepowerinthe NearEast.Assyrian
rulerscontrolledthe majortraderoutes
and dominatedthe surroundingstates in
Babylonia,Anatolia,and the Levant.Lavishlydecoratedpalaces were constructed
inthe capitalcities of Nimrud,Nineveh,
Khorsabad,and Assur.The downfallof
this mightykingdomwas finallyachieved,
at the end of the seventh century,by
Babylonia,a long-standingrival,and by
Medianand Scythianforces.
Fora briefperiodBabyloniareplaced
Assyriaas a majorpower.Inthe seventh
and sixthcenturiesB.C. Chaldeankings
fromthe southernmostregionof Mesopotamiaunifieda diversesociety and fended
offattacksof westernSemites-Aramaean
tribesmen.Butrebellionswithinthe kingdom weakenedthe powerof Nebuchadnezzar'sdynasty(625-539 B.C.)and left
Babyloniaand all Mesopotamiaopen to
attackand conquest by Iran.
SouthwesternIranwas Mesopotamia's
closest neighbor,bothgeographicallyand
The modern-dayprovinceof
politically.
Khuzistan-ancient Elam-in southwestern Iranis an extensionof the southern
Mesopotamianplain,and throughouthistorythe developmentof civilizationinthis
importantculturaland politicalcenterwas
affectedby events thatoccurredinthe
landbetweenthe Tigrisand Euphrates
rivers.Inmoredistantareas, on the
centralplateau,the eastern desert, and
the northernhighlandsof Iran,Mesopotamianinfluencewas alwaysweaker.Duringthe fifthand fourthmillenniaB.C.both
Khuzistanand the centralplateauwere
sources of particularly
strikingpottery
thatwas decoratedwithelaborategeometric,plant,and animaldesigns (see fig.
58). Since writtenrecordsare lackingfrom
before3000 B.C., it is impossibleto give a
name or an ethnicidentification
to the
peoples who producedthese wares.
Inthe latefourthmillenniumB.C., contacts withMesopotamiaincreasedas the
Sumeriansbecame active inthe tradein
semipreciousstones and metalsthat
movedthrougheastern Iranand Afghanistan. UnderSumerianinfluencethe
cuneiformscriptwas adoptedin Iran,and
before3000 B.C.a majorcenterwas established in Khuzistan,at Susa, a site that
has been excavatedby Frencharchaeologists. Thiscityand Anshan(modern

Malyan),in neighboringFarsprovince,
were the most importantpoliticaland
culturalcenters throughoutthe long historyof the Elamites.OldElamiteworksof
artproducedinthis regionduringthe third
and earlysecond millenniawere influenced by the artof Sumerianand
AkkadianMesopotamia.The images,
however-particularlythose of animals
and fantasticcreatures-are renderedin
a distinctiveElamitestyle thatis characterizedby naturallyrenderedformsand
decorativesurfacepatterns.Contactswith
landsfarto the northand east, in presentday Afghanistan,as wellas withpeoples
livingalong the Induscoastline inthe
southeast, exposed the artistsof Iranto
culturesthatwereunfamiliar
to theirMesopotamianneighbors,and this is reflected
inthe characterand appearanceof their
worksof art.UnderkingsrulingfromSusa
inthe second halfof the second millennium
B.C. Elambecame a majorpoliticalforce
inthe Near East. Wheneversouthern
Mesopotamiawas controlledby weak or
ineffectiveleaders,Elamitearmiesinvaded
the region,destroyedits cities, and briefly
controlledthe course of events there.
Northwestof Khuzistanlies a region
withinthe Zagrosmountainchainthatin
antiquitywas the home of semi-nomadic
peoples. Littleis knownof the historyor
cultureof the inhabitantsof Luristan,as
the regionis nowcalled. Inthe third,
second, and earlyfirstmillenniaB.C.the
importanceof the areaas a centerof horse
breedingresultedin frequentcontacts
betweenthe mountainpeople and their
sedentaryneighborsin Babyloniaand
Elam.Bronzes made in Luristanduring
the thirdand second millenniaB.C. illustratethe influenceof southernMesopotamiaand Elam.Inthe firstmillennium
B.C.the florescence of a distinctivelocal
style is documentedbya profusionof cast
andhammeredworksof art-the "Luristan
bronzes"-for whichthis regionis justifiablyfamous. Excavationsin recentyears
have uncoveredbuildingsand tombs, but
the ethnicoriginof the inhabitantsandthe
reason forthis richartisticproduction
remainuncertain.
Lateinthe second millenniumB.C., the
arrivalof Indo-Europeans,the Iranians,
began a new periodinthe historyof the
region.Bythe middleof the firstmillenniumB.C., Mesopotamiaand Iran,
underthe ruleof Achaemenidkings,
were partof an empirethatexceeded in
its geographicalextentanythingthat
had come before.Fromcapitalcities at
Susa, Ecbatana,and Babylon,the Iranian rulerscontrolledan empirethat
reachedfromTurkmenistan
to the Mediterraneanseacoast and Egypt.Inthe art
3

of the Achaemenidcourt,influencesfrom
Assyria,Babylonia,Egypt,and Greece
are apparentin bothstyle and
iconography.
The imperialambitionsof the Achaemenids,whichled them twiceto attack
the Greekmainland,were the cause of
theirdownfall.In334 B.C.Alexanderthe
GreatinvadedAsia fromMacedoniain
Greece. Fouryears later,the victorious
Greekarmyreached Persepolis in southern Iranand burnedthis greatceremonial
centerto the ground.Achaemenidrulein
the Near East was at an end.
The Greekconquestof the Achaemenid
the culturaldevelopempireinterrupted
mentof the Near East and alteredthe
course of civilizationinthatregion.Earlier
invasions,inthe thirdand second millennia,had broughtpeoples fromdesert
and mountainareas as well as fromthe
steppes intothe fertilelands and urban
centers of the Near East. The arrivalof
these seminomadictribesmenfromoutside the civilizedworlddid not radically
transformthe culturesthathad developed
overthe millennia.New concepts and
values were graftedonto existingtraditions, the societies were modified,and
the fabricof civilizationwas enriched.
The invasionof the Greeks, however,
differedfromthese earlierincursionsbecause itbroughtintothe NearEastforthe
firsttime a people who had highly
4

developed culturaltraditions.Greek
soldiersand merchantscame to livein
Syria,Anatolia,Mesopotamia,and Iran;
they foundedcities and introduceda new
way of life.When,inthe latethirdcentury
B.C.,the IranianParthiansreclaimedMesopotamiaand Iranfromthe Seleucidsthe successors of Alexanderthe Greatthe Greeksettlers and theirculture
remained.The Orienthad adoptedthe
West,and forthe nextmillennium,intimes
of peace and war,the kingdomsof the
Near East and the Romanand Byzantine
empires inthe West maintainedpolitical
and economicties as wellas commonculturaltraditions.
A reassertionof a NearEasternidentity,
an Iranianrenaissance, is apparentin
the artsat the beginningof the firstcenturyA.D., and itdeveloped underanother
Iraniandynasty,the Sasanians, who ruled
Mesopotamia,Iran,and partsof Syria
and AnatoliafromA.D.226 to 651. Forms
and motifswere adoptedfromthe West,
buttheirsignificancechanged, and they
expressed OrientalratherthanWestern
concepts. Similarly,in the Iraniannationalepic, the Shahnameh, originally
compiledat the end of the Sasanian
period,a legendaryAlexanderthe Great
is half-Persianand half-Greekby birth,a
modificationof historythatmade events
understandableand meaningfulto the
Near Easterner.

Anatoliaand Syriaare geographically


and culturallypartof the Near East,
butthey also face the West and are
neighborsof the Mediterraneanworld,of
Egypt,Cyprus,Crete,and Greece. Their
proximityto these lands affectedtheir
culturaldevelopment,and a distinctive
characteris apparentinthe worksof art.
Manydifferentcivilizationsflourishedin
Anatoliaand Syriaoverthe millennia,
and new peoples enteredbothregionsat
varioustimes: Hittitesand Phrygians
inAnatolia;Hurrians,Mitannians,and
Aramaeansin Syria.
Anatoliais richin metalore-notably
gold, silver,and copper-and the skillof
the Anatolianmetalworkeris evidentin
findsdatingfromthe end of the third
millenniumB.C. (see fig. 32). Vessels of
gold and silverfoundinthe tombs of local
rulershave long,delicatespouts and
handsome curvilineardesigns on the
bodies (see fig. 10), featuresthatare
also seen on the exceptionallyfine ceramicwares made inthis period.When
the Indo-EuropeanHittitesenteredAnatoliaat the beginningof the second
millenniumB.C., they maintainedmany
of the traditionsin metalworkingand
potterymakingestablished by theirpredecessors. A spectaculargroupof gold
and silverobjects inthe collectionof
NorbertSchimmeldeserves special
mentionhere bothas an illustrationof the

skill of the Hittiteartist (see front and back


covers, fig. 24) and as a rare example of
the art made in court workshops.
The Hittiteempire collapsed at the end
of the second millennium B.C.in a period
of foreign invasions and general chaos
that also affected much of southwestern
Anatolia and Syria. Inthe early first millennium B.C.,a number of smaller kingdoms
replaced the Hittites as major political
powers in Anatolia-notably Urartu,with
its capital city at Lake Van, a rivalof
Assyria from the ninth to the end of the
seventh century B.C.(see fig. 74), and
Phrygia, which in the eighth and seventh
centuries B.C.occupied the earlier Hittite
realm in central and western Anatolia
and established its center at Gordion.
Duringthe seventh century B.C.,nomadic tribesmen from the steppes north
of the Caucasus mountains poured into
Anatolia, destroying Phrygian power and
disrupting life in western Anatolia. In eastern Anatolia Scythian tribes moved into
Iranand Mesopotamia, where they joined
with Median and Babylonian armies in
their attack on Assyria late in the seventh
century. The influence of the Scythians
on the art of the Near East is apparent in
works made in Iran,Anatolia, and Syria
during this period. The objects are executed in a distinctive, beveled style and
display a repertory of designs in which
stags, panthers, birds of prey, and griffins
are favorite subjects.
By the beginning of the sixth century
B.C.the Scythians had retreated from the
Near East through Anatolia and had returned to the steppes around the Black
Sea. The rising power of Achaemenid
Iranreached into Anatolia, and in the
middle of the sixth century, Persian
satraps and officials, responsible to the
Achaemenid king at Susa, extended their
control as far as the Aegean seacoast.
Syria, to the south of Anatolia and west of
Mesopotamia, was a crossroads between
the great civilizations of the ancient world
and was often disputed by rivalpowers.
The rulers who controlled this land held
vitaltrade routes linkingthe Mediterranean
worldand Asia. Evidence of trade between
Syria and Mesopotamia in the late fourth
millennium B.C.marks the beginning of
direct contacts that increased over the
centuries. Although foreigners, notably
Mesopotamians, lived and traded in Syria
continuously from the earliest times, its
art had a distinctive character, which has
been demonstrated in recent excavations
of the third-millenniumlevels at such sites
as Mariand Ebla. Inthe second millennium
B.C.a trulyinternational
style developed

inthis region.Motifsand designs from

worldwere
Egyptand the Mediterranean
adoptedand passed intimefromSyria
intothe artof Mesopotamia.Inthe first
millenniumB.C.Assyriaand Phoenicia
replacedEgyptand the Myceneanand
Minoanempiresas a majorsource of
influencein Syrianart.Ivorycarvings
fromArslanTash-exhibited now inthe
Raymondand BeverlySacklerGalleryfor
AssyrianArt-clearly illustratea combinationof variousartisticstyles. The small
plaqueswithreliefcarvingsof human,
animal,and plantdesigns decoratedfurnitureand objectsof luxury.Egyptianizing
motifsintroducedthroughPhoeniciaare
combinedwithstylisticand iconographic
detailstakenfromthe artof Assyria.
Exhibitedin the same galleryare ivories
excavatedat Nimrud,in northernMesopotamia,where craftsmen,deportedfrom
Syriaand Phoenicia,workedforthe Assyriancourt.TheAssyriansmustalso have
receivedsome ivories,whichwere treasuredobjects,as tributeand bootyfollowingtheirconquest inthe earlyfirstmillenniumB.C.of towns inthe Syrianwest.
The Assyriandominationof Syriawas
followedby Babylonianconquests and
finallyby Achaemenidrule.Withthe invasion of Alexanderthe Greatinthe fourth
century,a largepartof Syriafell into
Greekhands, and latercame under
Romanand then Byzantinecontrol.The
borderbetweenthe westernempiresof
Rome and Byzantiumand the Parthian
and Sasanian lands inthe east ranalong
the centraland northernEuphratesRiver
throughSyria.
Fora thousandyears, fromthe last
centuriesbeforeChristto the comingof
Islam,the historyof the regionwas one
of almostcontinualwarfareas the great
empiresof Byzantiumand Sasanian Iran
battledand ultimatelyexhaustedtheir
resources inthe effortto controlthe rich
traderoutesand cities of Anatoliaand
Syria.Finally,Arabarmiesfromthe western desert-followers of the prophet
Muhammad-overranthe NearEast, and
bythe middleof the seventhcenturyMesopotamiaand Iranas wellas almosthalfof
the ByzantineempirehadfallenunderIslamicrule.Withthe introduction
of this
new religionand way of lifeanotherperiodin the historyof the Near East began.

ingof the universeand man'srelationship


to the divinepowersare the religionsof
and ZoroastrianJudaism,Christianity,
ism. Ofthese faithsthe least familiarto
us is the Zoroastrianreligion.Duringthe
Sasanian period(thirdto seventh century
A.D.)thiswas the officialstate religioninthe
Near East, as Christianity
became, under
Constantinethe Great(A.D.313-37), the
religionof the ByzantineWest.The
prophetZoroaster,who mayhave lived
abouta thousandyears beforeChristor
somewhatlater,preacheda doctrinein
whichthe powerof Good (personifiedby
the god Ahuramazda,orOhrmazd)is confrontedbythe powerof Evil(personified
bythe god AngraMainyu,or Ahriman).
Man'snaturalroleis to followGood,
buthe is free to choose betweenthe
two principles.Incontrastto otherearly
NearEasternreligions,few of the deities
are depictedin art.The most notable
representationsof Zoroastriangods from
the pre-lslamicera appearon rockreliefs
carvedduringthe Sasanian periodon the
clifffaces of Iran.

in processions celebrating special occasions. Ancient man believed that the gods
controlled the forces of nature and governed the course of events in daily life.
Notable exceptions to this understand-

A section on writingis by IraSpar,


Associate Professor of Historyand Ancient
Studies at Ramapo College.
PRUDENCE 0. HARPER
Curator,Ancient Near Eastern Art

Archaeologicalfieldworkand the study


of ancientrecordsprovidethe means to
reconstructancienthistoryand to understand the worksof art.Since the early
1930s, whenexpeditionsfirstwentto Iran,
the Museumhas continuedto mountand
supportexcavationsinthatcountryas well
as Iraq,Jordan,Syria,and Turkey.A portionof thisBulletinis devotedto thiswork.
Inscribedclay tabletswere amongthe
firstNearEasternantiquitiesthe Museum
acquired,andthe presentcollectionranges
in date fromaround2600 B.C.to the first
centuryA.D.The writtentexts and the
designs on stamp and cylindersealsobjectsof exceptionalinterestand oftenof
greatbeauty-document aspects of Near
Easternlifeand culturethatwouldotherwise remainunknown.
Worksof artfromMesopotamiaand
Iranformthe majorpartof the exhibition
inthe new galleriesof the Departmentof
AncientNearEasternArtand are the
primarysubjectof this Bulletin.The artof
Anatoliaand the Levant,as wellas the
collectionof seals and tablets, is represented by a smallerselection of objects.
Galleriesforthe displayof these artifacts
are plannedforthe future.
Allof the curatorialmembersof the
Throughoutantiquityone of man'sprimary
concernswas his relationshipto the gods.
Departmenthave contributedto this
Statues of the deities, generallyin human Bulletin:OscarWhiteMuscarella,Holly
form,were set up intemples and carried
Pittman,BarbaraA. Porter,and myself.

Beginninginthe earlyNeolithicperiod,
representationsof humanfigures in
terracotta,stone, or bone were made all
overthe Near East. We cannotoftentell
whetherthe figuresrepresentdeities or
humans,or if indeed such distinctions
were intended.Butbythe latefourthand
earlythirdmillenniaB.C., backgroundsceneryor physicalattributesand activities
were includedthatcan sometimes help
us to distinguishgods frommen. Itis
difficult,however,to tell an ordinary
citizen-a priest or a worshiper,for
example-from a ruler.
Inthe course of the thirdmillennium
B.C.variousNear Easternstates were
engaged in organizedtradeand imperial
conquest, and then, politicallyand economicallysecure, theirrulersbegan to
have themselves portrayedunambiguously and sometimes withinscriptions.
Theywere depictedperformingsecular,
military,and religiousfunctions,and the
formsemployedwere statuaryinthe
roundor carvingson cylinderseals and
reliefs,usuallyin stone.
Thefiguresreproducedhere are clearly
rulers,identifiedas such eitherby inscriptions or theirregalcharacteristics.Possiblythe earliestis the heavy,almost
solid-casthead (fig. 1), masterfullyand
subtlyexecuted to indicatecalm dignity
and inherentpower.The heavy-lidded
eyes, the prominentbutnotoverlarge
nose, the full-lippedmouth,and the intricatelycoiffedbeardare all so carefully
and skillfullymodeledthatthe head may
wellbe a portrait,almostcertainlyof a
ruler.Ifthis is a portrait,then the head is
uniqueamong Near Easternartifacts.
Some scholars date itto the second
millenniumB.C., othersto the latethird
millenniumB.C., which,consideringthe
style, seems more likely.The makerand
the date of the piece remainunknown,as
does the identityof this king,whose
representation,muteand nameless, nevertheless remainsone of the greatworks
of ancientart.
The seated stone figure(fig.2) represents Gudea (2144-2124 B.C.), the ensi,
or governor,of the ancientSumerian
state of Lagash,whose name and title
are includedinthe long inscription.A
numberof stone statues of Gudea,seated
or standing,were excavatedat Tello
(ancientGirsu),insouthernMesopotamia,
whileothers, presumablyfromTello,surfaced on the artmarket;manyfromboth
sources are fragmented,lackingheads
or bodies. The Museum'sGudea is complete and depictsthe rulercharacteristicallydressed in a brimmedhatdecorated
withhairlikespiralsand a longgarment
thatleaves one shoulderbare. His hands
7

are clasped in prayer-appropriatelyso,


forthe inscriptioninformsus thatthe
statuewas placedin a templeto represent
Gudea in supplicationbeforethe gods.
The Museumalso possesses a stone
head, whichwas joinedto a body inthe
the son of Gudea;
Louvre,of Ur-Ningirsu,
the completestatue (fig.69) is exhibited
at the Metropolitan
and the Louvrein
alternatingthree-yearperiods.
Duringthe firstmillenniumB.C.Assyrian
and PersianAchaemenidkingsruled
manynationsand peoples. Theywere
mastersof politicalpropaganda,which
was expressed in numeroustexts and in
variousformsof art.The Assyrianpalaces were embellishedwithstone wall
reliefs(see insidecovers) depictingroyal
activitiesinwar,the hunt,and domestic
and religiousceremonies. On the illustratedrelieffromNimrud(fig.3), the king
Assurnasirpal11(883-859 B.C.)holds a
bow-a symbolof his authority-and a
ceremonialbowl.Facinghim,an attendantholds a flywhiskand a ladlefor
replenishingthe royalvessel. The peaceful,perhapsreligious,natureof the scene
is reflectedinthe calm, dignifiedcomposure of the figures.
The Achaemenidkings(550-331 B.C.)
employedthe politicaland artisticiconographyof earlierperiods.Althoughwarlike
activitiesdo not appearon theirpalace
reliefs,the Persiankingsdid represent
themselveson cylinderseals vanquishing
enemies. On the seal at the lowerleft(fig.
4) an Achaemenidkingholdsa bow,again
a symbolof authority,
andthrustshis spear
intoa soldier,identifiedas Greekby his
helmetand clothing.The naturalismof the
carvingand detailssuggests thatthe artist
was eithera Greekworkingforthe Persians or a Persiantrainedin the West.
The PersianSasanians (thirdto seventh centuryA.D.)consideredthemselves
the spiritualand politicalheirsto the
Achaemenidkings. Representationsof
Sasanian rulersappearon coins, vessels,
and rockreliefs,and in stucco busts. On
the coins each kingis named by an
inscriptionand wears a personalized
crown,whichusuallyhelps to identify
other,uninscribedportraits.Unfortunately,
this is notthe case withthe Museum's
slightlyunder-life-sizehead (fig.5), which
was hammeredfroma single piece of
silver.Because of slightvariationsinthe
crownand the presence of the striated
globe headdress, we can inferthathe
was a fourth-century
king,whose controlledfierceness characterizesa posturedepictedformillennia.We do not
knowthe functionof the piece, butit is a
rareexampleof a Sasanian kingportrayedin the round. O.W.M.

.;

W[:f.001

_u

i;_,5~~~~~~~~~~~i
'~..~,
i'.,s
?'
:.?-..

~i?

.'.o

.,~...
'.'!,.,

.~..,..

S:~~~~~~~~E

Mudbrick,unbakedand baked,reed,
wood, and stone were the chief building
materialsof the ancientNear Eastern
world.The collapse of successive mudbrickwallsgraduallyled to the formation
of mounds,whichmarkthe sites of human
occupationinthe Near East (see figs. 44,
49, 51). Because stone is rarein southern Mesopotamia,mudbrickand reeds
were used to fashionstructures.Wood
was also generallylackinginthe south,
where the onlycommontree was the
date palm(see figs. 4, 39). InSyriaand
Anatolia,however,wood formedan integralpartof all largestructures.On a clay
culttowerprobablymade in Syria(see fig.
22), sizable wooden beams are represented betweenthe two stories and in
the frameworkof the building.
The wallsand doorwaysof most importantroyaland cultbuildingswere embellished withdifferentmaterials,stone,
metal,and paintedplaster.Claybricks
moldedintofiguraland plantformsfirst
appearas a type of decorationin architecture of the second millennium B.C. in

Mesopotamiaand Syria.Some of the


most impressiveexamples of molded
brickscome fromthe cityof Babylon.
The wallsof gateways,the royalbuildings, and a long processionalroad,built
duringthe reignof NebuchadnezzarII
(604-562 B.C.), were faced with molded
7

lgSIBW

Iwhite,

brickscoveredwithyellow,blue, black,
and redglazes. The lions (see fig.
11

9), symbolsof Ishtar,the greatMesopotamiangoddess of love and war(see fig.


27), are fromthe wallsof the processional roadleadingto the BitAkitu,
or house of the New Year'sFestival
(see p. 23).
The Babyloniantaste formoldedand
glazed bricksspreadto Iran,and in
the Achaemenidperiod(550-331 B.C.)
the wallsof the palaces at Susa had
brightlycoloredglazed surfaces. The
mostfamiliarAchaemenidarchitecture,
12

to representthe forepartsof various


however,is at the site of Persepolis,in
southwesternIran.Manyof the stone
animals:griffins,bulls,andhuman-headed
sculpturesdecoratingthe entrancegates, bulls.The head of a bull(fig.6) inthe
stairs,and wallsof the royalbuildingsstill Museum'scollectionis partof one of
stand, butthe mudbricksthatformedthe these blocksand combines realisticand
wallsof these buildingshave longsince
decorativeformsinthe typicalstyle of the
crumbledaway.Some of the hallsat
Achaemenidroyalworkshops.The aniPersepolishad huge stone columnsover mal'sears and horns,now lost, were
made fromseparate pieces of stone.
sixtyfeet high.On the tops of these
columnsand the capitalssurmounting
Royaland cultbuildingswere constructedwithconsiderable care and
them, impostblocksheldthe wooden
ceilingbeams. These blockswere carved deliberation.The groundchosen fortem-

pie buildingswas clearedbeforeconstructionand the soil speciallyprepared.One


customarypractice,datingfromas early
as the mid-thirdmillenniumB.C., was the
burialof foundationfiguresat selected
pointsbeneaththe temple.A nude male
figuresupportinga box (fig.7) may have
originallyserved this purpose.Foundationfiguresoftenend in a taperednaillikeformso that,in a sense, they secure
the buildingin place. This is trueof many
Sumerianfigures(see fig. 45) and of a

particularly
strikingexample (see fig. 35),
probablyfromnorthernMesopotamia,
toppedwitha snarlinglion.
The conquest of the Near Eastern
lands inthe fourthcenturyB.C.by
the GreekrulerAlexanderof Macedon
broughtforeigncraftsmenin considerable numbersto the NearEast, and the
architecture
soon reflectedtheirpresence.
Stone was used morefrequentlyforbuildings of importance,and Greekcapitals,
columns,and moldingsbegan to trans-

formthe appearanceof buildings.A


beardedmale head of Parthiandate (first
to second centuryA.D.) providesevidence of westerninfluenceinthe rather
realisticstyle and the functionof the
piece as a waterspout(fig.8). The person
portrayed,however,has the moustache,
long, loose locks of hair,and prominent
nose of a Near Easterner,probablyan
Iranian.The head was originallyglazed,
and the beardstillretainstraces of iron
pyrites. P.O.H.
13

W/mWJ'-

l~N

4VIt

kt-

~11

Vessels fashionedfromsilverand gold


were made in several areas of the Near
East as earlyas the middleof the third
millenniumB.C.Ores producingsilver
exist in Iran,and silverwas broughtback
fromAnatoliaby merchantsfromnorthern Mesopotamia(Assyria)in the early
second millenniumB.C.Goldcame to
Mesopotamiafroma varietyof sources,
includingthe Taurusand Caucasus mountains inthe northwestand Egyptin the
southwest.Textsalso recordthe shipmentof gold fromthe Induscoastline
(Meluhha)in the east.
Some of the most spectacularand
earliestobjects in gold come fromthe
RoyalCemeteryat Ur(ca. 2500 B.C.)in
Mesopotamia(see fig. 66). Neithergold
norsilveris nativeto Mesopotamia,and
the appearanceof these materialsindicates thatan effectivesystem of trade
had developed by this time.
Slightlylaterin date thanthe objects
discoveredat Urare gold vessels found
in royaltombs in north-central
Anatolia.A
ewer made of hammeredgold (fig. 10)
originallyhad a longspout thatprojected
fromthe narrowneck. Duringthe second
millenniumB.C. spoutedjugs became extremelyelaborateand elegant in form.A
representationof a cultscene on a Hittite
cup (see backcover)shows one of these
jugs in use at a ceremonywhere a liquid
offeringis being pouredout beforea god.
One vessel type thathad a long history
inthe ancientNear East incorporatesthe
head orforepartof an animal.A spectacularexample (see frontcover)comes from
Anatoliaand was made duringthe period of Hittiterule(fifteenthto thirteenth
centuryB.C.). The handledcup is inthe
shape of the forepartof a recumbent
stag, an animalcommonlyrepresentedin
the artof Anatoliaand associated witha
stag god,whocan be seen on the bandencirclingthe neck of the vessel (see back
cover).The meaningof this cultscene is
uncertain,butthe associationof certain
animal-shapedvessels withparticular
divinitiesis describedin Hittitetexts.
Religiousor cultscenes of the type
foundon the Hittitecup are unknownon
latervessels of gold or silverthatare
preservedfromthe periodof Achaemenid
rulein Iran.Ingeneral,the decorationof
these worksof artis fairlysimple. Bodies
are oftenflutedand decoratedwitheggshaped bosses (see fig. 72), designs that
appearon Near Easternceramicsand
metalworkin the second and earlyfirst
millenniaB.C. Stylizedplantmotifsinclude lotuses, palmettes,and rosettes.
AnAchaemenidcup made of silveris
inthe shape of a horse'shead (fig.12).
The bridleand the fileof birdsaroundthe
15

neck are coveredwithgoldfoil.This


combinationof gold and silverwas
commonlyused on metalworkof the
Achaemenidperiod,and the fashioncontinuedon laterworksof Parthianand
Sasanian date.
AnotherAchaemenidvessel (fig.14)
ends inthe forepartof a lion.The mouth
of the lionis open, and incharacteristic
NearEasternfashionthe tongue protrudesfrombetweenthe teeth. The vessel is madeof seven different
parts,almost
invisiblyjoined.
A gildedsilverrhyton(fig.13), hornshaped and havinga smallspoutfor
pouring,dates fromthe Parthianperiod

male figure,beardedand partiallynude.


The vine scrolland the nude male figure
(an unusualsubjectinSasanianart)reflect
the influenceof Dionysiacimagery.The
significanceof the Dionysiacmotifsin
Iranianartis unknown.Theyare commonon silverwareof late Sasanian date
and, duringthatperiod,mayhave referredto Iraniancourtfestivalsrather
thanto specific Dionysiaccultpractices.
Althoughroyalimages do notappear
on the gold and silvervessels thathave
survivedfromthe Achaemenidperiod,
names of kingswere inscribedon some
examples aroundthe rim(see fig. 72).
On latervessels, notablythose of the
(ca. first century B.C.)and is much influSasanianperiod,thereare no royalinscripenced, informand style, bythe artof the
tions butthe kinghimselfis represented,
late HellenisticWest.The pantherwears
usuallyin a huntingscene (see fig. 63).
a grape-and-leafvine woundaroundits
Silver-giltplates decoratedinthis fashion
chest, and an ivywreathencirclesthe rim were probablyintendedas giftsforneighof the vessel. These motifsare symbols
boringrulersorformembersof the king's
of the Greekwine god Dionysos,whose
own court.
cultspreadeastwardat the timeof the
Ancienttextsstate thatgoldsmithsfashinvasionof Alexanderthe Greatinthe
ioned notonlyvessels butalso statues of
latefourthcenturyB.C.Dionysiacimages
kingsand divinitiesand manysmall ob-panthers, grapevines,and dancingfejects, such as jewelryand otherdecoramales (see fig. 26)- continueto appear tions forthe clothingof the kingand god.
on the silverwareof the Sasanian period Onlya smallnumberof these treasured
(A.D. 226-651). On an oval bowl(see fig.
objects have survived,butthe remains
11) datingfromthe end of this perioda
providea glimpseof the luxurywares that
curlinggrapevinescrollis populatedwith were used at the royalcourtand dedibirdsand animalsand framesa small
cated by rulers to their gods. P.O.H.
A

13

16

14
14

-~~~~~~~~~~~_

-'

---,_

r
.r

d-

Wm
Now
Wm&4'

I-

.r
I,y

'

.'',.

%
_a

- _

'
Ju

l
_

_~ILad~

.N.

looiho

J(

-A"^ - ,
1y.
.
.*
J8
t?,L

'

".

17

Weaponsare documentedinthe archaeologicalrecordsof the NearEast fromat


least the Neolithicperiod.Theywere
initiallymade of stone and probablywood,
and as soon as metallurgywas exploited,
they were fashionedof copper,then
bronze,and lateriron.Ourknowledgeof
weapons and theiruse in warand the
huntis based on findsfromcemeteries,
settlements,and on representations.
Sennacherib,kingof Assyria(704-681
B.C.), was frequentlyat warwithhis
neighbors,andhis palacewallsat Nineveh
were linedwithstone reliefsdepictinghis
victories.Manyof the battlescenes are
bloodyand dramatic;others, likethe
Museum'sfragmentaryexample (fig. 15),
illustratetroopson the march.Heretwo
cavalrysoldiersare shown wearinghelmets, armor,and boots;theycarryspears,
swords,and bows forbothclose- and
long-rangecombat.Because of the rough
terrain-mountainsand a spring-the
soldierswalktheirhorses, an exampleof
The
Assyrianconcernforverisimilitude.
horses weartassels, fordecoration,and
bells, to create a terrifyingnoise during
charges. The reliefsnotonly informus of
historicalevents, butthey also yielddocumentationof contemporaryartifacts-in
this case, weapons, clothing,and equestrianparaphernalia.Archaeologicalfinds
oftenmatchitemsdepictedon the reliefs,

whichplayan importantrole indating


and attribution.
Althoughapproximatelyeightyexamples of ironswords likethe Museum's
(fig.16) are known,notone is represented in artor has been excavatedby
archaeologists.Fortunatelythe culture
and generaltimeof theirmanufacture
are revealedby stylisticanalysisof both
the figuresand the blade shape. The two
beardedmale heads thatprojectfromthe
pommeland the crouchinglionson
eitherside of the ricassoresembleLuristan
styles fromthe late eighthand early
seventh centuries B.C., and the willow-leaf

blade is paralleledon plainswords excavatedfromLuristantombsof the same


period.
The placementof the blade at right
angles to the hiltandthe complexmethod
of constructionmakethis class of sword
unique.Eachswordwas individually
hand-forgedand consists of aboutten
separate pieces neatlyjoinedto give the
impressionthatthe swordwas cast in
one piece. Whythese swordswere so
painstakinglymade is unknown,butthe
largenumbersuggests thatthey may
have signaledthe special rankof their
bearers. Identicalinform,they were
probablymanufacturedinone place.
The swordwitha giltbronzeguardand
a hollowgold hilt(fig.17) is moredifficult

to attributeto a specificarea. The iron


blade (notshown) is preservedin a gold
scabbarddecoratedwitha stampedor
punchedfeatherpatternon the obverse
and withfive pairsof spiralwireson the
reverse.The hiltand the two mountswith
P-shapedflanges are decoratedwith
granulationsand garnetand glass inlays.
These mountsheld leatherstrapsthat
allowedthe swordto hang froma beltfor
a "quickdraw."
Morethan a half-dozenotherexamples of this formof swordand scabbard
are known,butnone are so elaborately
decorated;a few are also representedin
art.The double P-shapedmountsare
foundon swordsrecoveredfromEuropeto
the Eurasiansteppes, includingIran,and
are associated withthe nomadicTurkishspeakingAvarsof the sixthand seventh
centuriesA.D.A rockreliefat Taq-i
Bustanin Iranprovidesthe only known
exampleof a Sasanian kingwearinga
similarswordand mounting;otherrepresentationsof Sasanian swords depicta
different
formof attachment.Therefore,we
cannotbe certainwhetherourswordwas
once inthe armoryof a Sasanian king,
or whetheritand its mates were once in
the possession of an Avarchief. O.W.M.

15
18

16

17

19

The peoples of the Near East,


likethose of othercultures, were
preoccupiedwiththe world(of
Iand
eternallymysteriousspiritual
ic
demonicforces. Theirartisti
impulseswere largelyexpre,ssed
inconceptualizingand dociJ-

mentingtheirmanifoldbeliefs, interpretations, and fears. AncientNear Eastern


artand textualmaterialeloquentlyreveal
howover the millenniathese people resolved theirneed to relateto and placate
the ever-presentspiritsand deities that
manifestedthemselves in natureand in
dailylife.
The gold necklace (fig. 19) is a good
example of how decorativeand spiritual
functionswere oftencombined.Itis composed of doubleand triplestrandsof
hollowbeads withseven pendants,each
inthe formof a deityor a symbolof a
deity.Althoughapparentlycomplete,the
reconstructionof the morethantwo hundredpieces is modern,so the original
positionof each element is not absolutely
certain.The two hornedfemales in long

flounceddresses most probablyrepresent Lama,a protectivegoddess; the


centraldiskwithraysemanatingfroma
boss representsShamash, the sun god;
the crescent, the moon god, Sin;and the
forkedlightningsymbol, probablyAdad,
the stormgod. The two disks withgranulatedrosettes may be purelydecorative.
Whileno otherelaborateexample exists
in completeform,wallreliefsdepict
Assyriankingsof the firstmillenniumB.C.
wearingnecklaces likethis one withpendantdivinesymbols, indicatingthatthey
were to be wornby royalty.The necklace
was most probablyapotropaic-that is, it
protectedthe royalwearerfromharm.
Similarindividualelements excavatedat
Larsain Mesopotamialead us to assume
thatthis necklace was made in the early

19

20

second millenniumB.C., and as Assyrian


examples attest, necklaces withapotropaicfeatureshad a long historyin
the region.
The bronzehelmet(fig.20) withfour
raisedfiguresprominentlypositionedon
its fronthad apotropaicvalue in addition
to its immediatepracticalfunction.Each
of the figureswas sculptedfroma bitumen core overlaidwithsilverand gold
and then fastened to a bronzeplateriveted to the helmet.Inthe centralposition
is a beardedmale deity,identifiedas a
mountain-water
god bythe scales on a
conicalbackgroundand the waterflowing
fromthe vessel he holds. He is flanked
bytwo identicalgoddesses and protected
fromabove by a giantraptor.The
goddesses holdtheirhandsopen inrever-

ence beforetheirbreasts. They,too, are


placed againstbackgroundswithscales,
whichsuggests thatthey may be mountaindeities associated withthe male god,
who is probablydominantsince his crown
has multiplepairsof hornswhiletheirs
have onlysingle pairs.Because of the
style and deportmentof the figures
depicted,and the special techniqueof
manufacture,the helmetmaybe attributedto the Elamitesof the fourteenth
centuryB.C. Thatourhelmetwas wornby
a personof rankis suggested bythe
preciousmaterialused and the complexityof the construction.Itssymbolicand
spirituallyprotectivevalue is impliedby
the presence of the deitiesinsuch a prominentand chargedposition.
The Neo-Assyriancylinderseal (fig.

18) depicts a religiousscene commonly


foundon these ubiquitousobjects.A
humanworshiperis in reverencebefore
the stormgod Adad,who stands on a
bull,the animalusuallyassociated with
him.A bull-man,one of manymixedcreaturespiritsdepictedby ancientNear
Easterners,appears in attendancebehindAdad,and varioussymbols of other
deities-the standardsof Mardukand
Nabu,the seven dots representingthe
Pleiades, and the wingedsun disk-are
distributedunobtrusivelythroughoutthe
scene, whichinterestinglymixes the
formsof the gods and
anthropomorphic
theirsymbols.Whilethe ownerprobably
used this device to seal documentsand
cargo, he no doubtalso carrieditas his
personaltalismanand sign of piety.O.W.M.

21

his gods was not


personal
diateone of manymodernbelievers.
Instead,itwas distantand formal,definedessentiallythroughthe performance of elaboraterituals.Ancientman's
primaryfunctionon earthwas to serve
the gods, whose decisions and actions
determinedthe outcome of all events and
mankind'sultimatefate.
Itseems thatthe common manwas
excludedfromall butthe majorreligious
was
festivals;in most ritualsparticipation
the privilegeand the responsibilityof
priestsand, most important,of the king.
These ritesare not clearlyunderstood,
and whatlittlewe knowcomes largely
throughtexts writteninvariousdialects,
visual representations,and archaeological remains.
Mesopotamiandeities were conceived
in humanformand were believedto
reside in images erected in cultbuildings.
This imagewas the focus of the cultand
was carefullynurturedthroughmanyprecisely prescribedritualsforfeeding,clothing,and washing,inthe hope thatthe
god mightthen be pleased and disposed
to act favorablytowardhis subjects.
Cuneiformtexts tell us thatmost of the
cultimages-none of whichare entirely
preserved-were madeof preciouswoods
and were eitherdressed in elaborate
garmentsor covered entirelywithgold.
They had staringeyes inlaidwithprecious stones, often lapis lazuli,forthe
pupiland shell or alabasterforthe surroundingwhite.Statues of otherdeities
and of important,often royal,worshipers
were frequentlyplaced in the temples.
The gypsumstatue (fig.21) was foundat
TellAsmarinthe SquareTemple,which
was builtshortlybeforethe middleof the
thirdmillenniumB.C.Itis probablyan
imageof a piousworshiper,not a deity;
his hypnoticallystaringeyes may resemble those of his reveredgod.
Offeringsof foodanddrinkwere brought
to the deityeveryday;they were "consumed"by it behinddrawncurtains.In
additionto the ritualfeeding, libations
were offered,usuallyof water,wine, beer,
oil, or the bloodof a sacrificialanimal.
These liquidswere pouredfroma special
vessel onto an altaror intoanothersacred receptacleor object.Such a ceramic
vessel (fig.22), probablyfromSyria,is in
the shape of a two-storiedtowertopped
by a humanfigurewearinga conicalcap
and restrainingtwofelines bytheirtails.
Betweenthem is a narrow-neckedopening throughwhicha blessed liquidwas
poured,to flowfromone of the two doors
cut intothe frontof the towervessel.
22

Across the top of the towera cylinderseal impressionshows a variationof the


presentationscene.
The figurineof a kneelingbull(fig.23),
fromearlythird-millennium
Iran,is magnifiin
silver
(see p. 46). Itis
centlysculpted
clothedas a human,in a textiledecoratedwitha stepped pattern,and holds a
tall,spoutedvessel in its outstretched
hooves inthe postureof a supplicant.We
knownothingof the religiousritualsof
Iranfromthe beginningof the thirdmillen-

cylinderseals do show animalsin human


posturethatmaybe engaged in some
kindof ritualactivity.
Inadditionto the dailyritualssurroundingthe cultimage,the Mesopotamian
calendarwas fullof special days on which
particularriteshad to be observed by the
priestsand the king.The most important
of these was the New Year'sFestival,
which,aftermanychanges throughthe
ages, was celebratedinthe firstmillen-

nium B.C. Contemporary Proto-Elamite

Nisan. InBabylon,the kingand priests

22

nium B.C.during the spring month of

performedritualsforeleven days;the
highpointof the festivaloccurredwhen
the cultstatues of Marduk-the chief
Babyloniangod-and otherdeities were
paradedalongthe ProcessionalWay
leadingfromthe templeprecinctto the
Akituhouse. Outsidethe magnificent
IshtarGate, the wallsalongthe waywere
linedwithcolorfulglazed-brickimages of
lions(see fig. 9) stridingboldlytoward
the sacred destinationwhere a mysteriousand crucialritualmusthave
takenplace. H.P.

23

23

Some of the most elaboraterepresentations of females inthe artof the ancient


Near East are images of divineand cult
figureswhose association withcertain
aspects of lifemade them essential to the
welfareof mankind.Fertility,procreation,
the growthof crops and livestock,and
such naturalphenomenaas thunderstormsand rainwere among the basic
concepts identifiedwithfemale divinities
by ancientpeoples. Representationsof
nude females in clay,stone, and metal
arethe simplestand mostobviousexpression of these concepts, and such figures
appearedthroughoutantiquityin many
regions and periods.A strikingexample
in clay fromnorthwesternIran(fig.25) is
hollowand probablyserved as a cult
vessel as well as a sacred image.The
exaggeratedwidthof the pelvis may be
intendedto emphasize the roleof women
as childbearers.
One of the most importantMesopotamiangoddesses was Ishtar,a divinity
who combinedin her natureaspects of
bothlove andwar.She is frequentlyrepresented on cylinderseals (fig.27) with

25

24

2/

weapons risingfromher shouldersor


holdinga distinctivelion-headedweapon.
Herrightfoot rests on a lion,her animal
attribute.Ishtaris a goddess to whom
rulersturnedforaid, protection,and victoryin battle.
A smallgold pendant(fig.24) represents a goddess worshipedin Anatolia.
The Hittitefigureholds a childon her lap,
thus underscoringher roleas a mother
goddess. The identityof this divinityremains uncertain,butthe wide, disklike
headdress may representthe sun and
the figurethereforemaybe a sun goddess.
Althoughthe enthronedfigurerests on a
flatpodiumor base, a loop attachedto
the backof the headdress indicatesthat
this was a pendant,once suspended,
perhapsfroma necklace similarto
the examplefromMesopotamiainthe
Museum'scollection(see fig. 19). On
thatnecklace, smallfiguresof another
benevolentgoddess, Lama,are included
amongthe pendants.
Dancingfemale figuresdecorate a
Sasanian silver-giltewer (fig.26), a ceremonialor cultvessel of a type datableto
the sixthor earlyseventh centuryA.D.
The appearanceof these images was
influencedby Romanrepresentationsof
maenads, female worshipersassociated
withthe cultof the Greekwine god
Dionysos,a complexdivinitywhose worship was particularly
widespreadinthe
ancientworld.On the Sasanian vessels
the females are alwaysin a dancingpose
and holda select groupof objects, including grape-and-leafbranches,birds,animals, and vessels. No texts remainfrom
this periodto explainthe appearanceor
functionof these females in the Sasanian
world,and we can onlysuppose that
they were associated withsome court
festivalof the Iranianyear. P.O.H.

26
25

28
29

Forancientman the worldwas full


of supernaturalspirits,beneficentand
malevolent,who had to be constantly
appeased or repelled.By the thirdmillenniumB.C.a few of these spiritshad been
representedintangibleformsthat,althoughmonstrous,were probablyless
frighteningthan previously,when their
formwas leftsolely to a believer'simagination.The specific identityof most of
these creaturesis not knownbecause
there is so littlecoincidence of textual
descriptionand visual representation.
Butoftentheirfunctionis suggested by
theirappearanceor fromthe contextin
whichthey are depicted.
Whenrepresentedin art,these supernaturalcreatureswere alwaysmade up
of naturallyoccurringformscombined
in an unnaturalmanner.Wingswere
often used to transforma realcreature
intoa fabulousone, as was the mixingof
humanand animalfeatures (see fig. 64).
Untilthe last halfof the thirdmillenniumB.C. onlya few such mixedcrea26

tureswere represented;amongthemwere
the bull-man,the human-headedbull,
and the lion-headedeagle, Imdugud.But
duringthe Akkadiandynasty(2334-2154
B.C.)a richvarietyof these fabulouscreatureswere placedintothe artisticrepertory.
On the illustratedseal (fig.30) is carved
the snake god, whose formis human
above and reptilianbelow;he is approachedfromfrontand behindby minor
deitieswithscorpionsor snakes forhands
and feet. One of these divinitiesis winged,
whilethe otherhas felines emergingwinglikefromits back.The domainof the
snake god was the underworld,and because he is often associated withgrowing vegetationor,as here, withscorpions
and felines and the gatepost of Inanna
(the Sumeriangoddess of love and war),
he is thoughtto be a fertilitydeity,perhaps of Iranianinspiration.
Monstrousimages were often borrowedfromothercultures,eitherwithor
withouttheiroriginalidentity.The image
of the sphinx-a creaturewitha lion's

bodyand a humanhead-was borrowed


fromEgyptand adaptedby the cultures
of westernAsia. Fromthe OldAssyrian
palace at the site of Acemhoyukcomes
an ivoryfigurineof a female sphinxwearing Hathorcurls(fig.29). Allof its
elements are Egyptian,butthey are combinedina completelyun-Egyptian
manner.
This ivorysupportis one of a groupof
fourthatmost probablyserved as decorationfora throne.
Anexpertlycast silveraxe withgoldfoilgilding(fig.28) is decoratedwith
elements of the livelyiconographyof
superhumanheroes and demons that
was developedduringthe MiddleBronze
Age inwesternCentralAsia. The heroic
demon, composed of a humanbodywith
birds'heads, talons, and wings, is a creaturemost probablyborrowedfromeastern Iran.Itis shownsometimesenthroned
and sometimes strugglingwithnaturalor
fantasticcreatures.Itsopponenton the
axe is a dragonlikecreaturedistinguished by a single horn,a curledbeard,
a ridgedruff,staggeredwings, a feline's
body,and bird'stalons. This same creaturealso served as a symbolof the
IranianShimashkidynastyof the late
third millennium B.C.

Representationsof fabulouscreatures
served notonlyas images of numinous
spirits,butalso as heraldicsymbolsfor
the propagandaof the secular state.
Althoughits meaningis not understood,
the hornedand wingedlionoccurs in
AchaemenidPersianiconography,frequentlyinconjunctionwiththe king.On a
gold plaqueof this period(fig.31) are
two wingedand hornedlions,each rearingwithits head turnedback.The plaque
was most probablysewn on a soft cloth
or leatherbackingthatserved as partof
the resplendentpanoplyof an Achaemenid
courtier. H.P.

27

34

32

Eveninthe densely populatedcities of


the ancientNearEast naturewas never
farfrommen'sdailylives. This is reflectedinthe art,where images of animalswere used fromthe earliesttimes.
Theywere representedas naturalforms,
as symbolsof abstractconcepts, or as
attributesof one of the manyNear Eastern deities. Alongwithdomesticated
sheep, goats, and bovids,images of wild
animalspredominate:lions,caprids,
mountainsheep, and wildbullsare especiallyimportant.
As earlyas the latefourthmillennium
B.C., when urbansocieties were firstforming inthe lowlands,the lionwas clearly

associated withpower,bothsecularand
divine.The forepartof a lionemerges
froma bronzepeg-shaped foundation
figurine(fig.35). The platebeneaththe
lion'sextended paws is inscribedwiththe
name of Tishatal,a kingof Urkish,inthe
languageof the Hurrians,a non-IndoEuropean,non-Semiticpeople who, from
the second halfof the thirdmillennium
B.C.,
were presentinthe northernpartsof
Mesopotamiaand Syria.Stylisticfeatures
suggest thatthisfoundationpeg-frightening enough to scare offevildoers-was
made eitherby an Akkadianartistor by
one withinthe Akkadiansphere of
influence.

The yokedpairof long-hornedbulls


(fig.32) served as a decorativefinial,
perhapsfora ceremonialstandardor
chariotpole. Itis reportedlyfroman Early
BronzeAge royalburialat the site of
HoroztepeincentralAnatolia.These bulls
are examples of how importantanimal
featuresare oftenemphasized in ancient
Near Easternart.Herethe hornsare
morethanone and one-halftimes the
lengthof the animal'sbody,impossiblein
nature,butan effectivestylisticconvention.The identificationof these earlybulls
as sacred or divineis based onlyon an
analogywithHittitebullsthatwere associated withthe weathergod Teshuba
29

30

millenniumlater.
Near Easternartistsmust have carefullyobserved animalsin nature;the
renderingscapturetheiressence either
throughnaturalisticor stylizedconventions. A fine sculptureof a wildmountain
sheep (fig.36), or mouflon,identical
to several foundat MohenjoDaro(an
urbansite of the thirdmillenniumB.C.
inthe valleyof the IndusRiver),shows
the animalresting;his hindquarters
are stronglytwistedto receivethe full
weightof his body.The physicalpower
of this creatureis emphasized bythe
closed outlinethatincorporateshis
sweeping hornsintothe massive volume
of his chest.
Thethree-dimensional,sculpturalqualityof these animalscontrastswiththe
bodintricately
patterned,two-dimensional
ies of the gazelles stridingaroundthe
side of a lovelygold cup (fig.34).
The heads at a rightangle to the bodies
are a featureshared by several similar
cups foundat KalarDashtand Marlik,
second-millennium B.C. sites of royal

burialssouth of the CaspianSea.


Fromthe earliesttimes in Mesopotamiahuntingwildbeasts was a religious
responsibilitythatdemonstratedthe prowess and potencyof a ruler.Fromthe time
of the Neo-AssyriankingAssurnasirpalII,
such huntingscenes were depictedon
the carvedstone reliefsinthe palaces;
excerptsfromthese compositionswere
copied in minorartsbothin Assyriaand
inthe lands underits domination.On an
ivorypanel (fig.33) fromnorthwestern
Iran,a male figure,possiblyroyal,is
seen aboutto thrusta spear intothe
breastof a chargingwildbullchased by a
royalchariot. H.P.

36

31

Inthe ancientNear East plantmotifs


were incorporatedintodesigns on the
richlydecoratedpotteryof the prehistoric
periods.Theycontinuedto be represented, ina stylizedfashion,on a variety
of objectsthroughoutthe millennia.Favorite designs includedsprigpatterns,rows
of trees, stylizedflowers,and chains of
leaves and buds.A schematicrepresentationof rowsof date palmsappears in
three registerson a finelycarvedchlorite
vase (fig.39) of the firsthalfof the third
millenniumB.C.The date palmof the oases
and riverareas of southernMesopotamia
and nearbyIranwas a majorsource of
food, of timberforlightconstruction,and
of frondsformats.
The reed, nativeto the marshes of
southernMesopotamia,is represented
duringthe Urukperiod(3500-3100 B.C.)
on cylinderseals, whichalso depictother
plantsand palmtrees in decorative,
nonrealisticdesigns. Inthe Akkadianperiod (2334-2154 B.C.) trees and plants

were morerealisticallycombinedwith
naturalfeaturesto give the impressionof
actuallandscape.AnAkkadianseal (fig.
37) shows a huntingscene in whicha
manseizes a hornedanimal.Firtrees
and moundswithimbricatedpatternsindicate thatthe setting is a mountainous
region,probablythe forestlandsto the
northor east of Akkad.
The ivorycarvingsfromthe NeoAssyrianpalaces at Nimrudincorporate
manyplantformsas decorativeelements
inthe designs. On one example executed in Syrianstyle (fig.38) a goat is
naturalistically
portrayedrearingup on its
hindlegs and nibblingat the leaves of a
tendrils.
highlystylizedshrubof intertwined
The sacred tree was alwaysa popular
motif.Thisimaginary,decorativeplant,
composed of ornamentalleaves and
waterliketendrils,was repeatedmany
times on the ninth-century
B.C. reliefsof
the NorthwestPalace at Nimrud(see
insidefrontcover). Frequently,attending
divinitiesare shown administeringsome
purifyingsubstance witha date palm
spathe and a bucket.The sacred tree
was a symbolof vegetallifeandfertility-a
significancethatwe attributeto most
plantmotifsand designs inthe artof the
ancientNearEast. B.A.P.

38
32

39

Ct' ds%a~
1^a~a
It";^~.~

:Ilg*'^~k;

?^^~6
htAfm
'-^

^ <**. '^w

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

I'l' %~~~~~~~~~

'~~~~~~~~~

I? I

~ ~~

''

.tVI<

;rd/
/'/

-j

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7~~~~iii

L1~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
i;

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~~

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7/

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~~;j//

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40

41

43

The Scythianswere one of the nomadic


tribesthatroamedthe steppes northof
Iran,Mesopotamia,and Anatoliainthe
firstmillenniumB.C. They are knownto us
fromthe writingsof theirneighbors,the
earliestrecordsbeing those of the Assyriansand Urartians.By the timeof the
AssyriankingEsarhaddon(681-668 B.C.)
intothe
Scythiannomads had infiltrated
rich,settled lands south of the Caspian.
GreekhistoHerodotus,the fifth-century
rian,who wroteaboutthem in Book IV
of his monumentalhistory,tells of sumptuous royalburialsof Scythianchieftains,
whichhave been confirmedbythe
discoveriesof burialmoundsin southern Russia. The tombs covered by the
moundswere filledwithweapons and
horse equipmentas wellas intricately
and lavishlycraftedpieces of jewelry,
drinkingvessels, and combs.
Typicalof Scythianartis the so-called
animalstyle, whichchieflyrepresented
such creaturesas stags, panthers,boars,
and birdsof prey.The animalsare rendered in a decorative,stylizedfashion,
as illustratedby griffin-shapedappliques
(fig.41), partof a groupof ornaments
that has been attributedto a fifthcenturyB.C.treasurefoundat Maikopin
the KubanRiverregionnorthof the Black
Sea. The Scythianswere great horsemen and theirpassion foradornment
extendedto the harnesses wornby their
horses. The boarclasp (fig.42) of carved
bone coveredwithgold is probablya decorativeelementforthe strapsof a harness.
The Scythiananimalstyle influenced
the artof othernomadictribes.This is
reflectedin a rareexampleof fourthcentury B.C.Thracian workmanship, a

silverbeaker(fig.40) probablymade in
the regionof present-dayRumaniaor
Bulgaria.Similarbeakershavebeen found
in a princelytombat Agighiol,nearthe
Danubedelta in eastern Rumania.The
Museum'scup depicts several animals,
some realand some fantastic.Aneightlegged stag has antlersterminatingin
birds'heads, whichform partof the
decorative borderaroundthe rim.
A bronzebeltclasp (fig.43) has an
intricateopenworkdesign witha horse
and smallerfiguresof a foal, a dog, and a
bull-all enclosed bya framewithbosses.
Manybeltclasps of this same type and
style have been foundin ancientColchis,
nowwesternGeorgiainthe Soviet Union.
Recentlyit has been suggested thatthey
date to the firstto thirdcenturyA.D.These
small,portable,and highlydecorative
objects preservedmanyof the featuresof
the earlier,nomadicanimalstyle. B.A.P.
35

Beginninginthe early1930s and continuingto the present,the Metropolitan


Museumhas been a sponsor of archaeologicalexcavationsinthe Near East.
BeforeWorldWarIIthe Museumsupportedexcavationsat Qasr-iAbuNasr
and Nishapurin Iran,and at Ctesiphonin
Iraq;duringthe 1950s its concernwith
archaeologicalactivityincreaseddramatically.Inthe past threedecades excavations and researchhave been conducted
withotherinstitutionsat fourteensites in
Iran,five in Iraq,two each in Syriaand
Jordan,and one inTurkey.The Museum
has helpedto financethese projects,and
membersof itscuratorialstaffhaveserved
as directorsor codirectorsof several
excavations.As a resultof its support,
the Museumhas acquiredmuchmaterial
frommanyculturesand periods,butits
supporthas not alwaysbeen contingent
on receivingobjects in return.
MuseumfirstparticiThe Metropolitan

patedin excavatinginthe NearEast in


1931-32, when itjoinedforces withthe
GermanState Museumsat the site of
Ctesiphonin Iraq.Andfrom1932 to 1934
the Museumitselfsponsoredthree seasons of excavationsat Qasr-iAbuNasr,a
few miles southeast of Shirazin southwesternIran.The site consists of a large
townand fortressand dates fromthe late
Sasanian and earlyIslamicperiodsfrom
the sixthto the eighthcenturyA.D.Remains
of earlierAchaemenidarchitectureand
carvingsthathad been transportedfrom
nearbyPersepoliswere also recovered.
The Achaemenidmaterialwas subsequentlyrestoredto Persepolis,and a
largenumberof objectscame to the
Museumas its share of the finds.These
includeseals and sealings, coins, pottery,
and objectsof glass, stone, bone, and
metal.One of the metalobjectsacquired
is a bronzestand (fig.46) thatprobably
helda lampor candle. Qasr-iAbuNasris

44

36

a significantsite because itdates to the


transitionfromthe Sasanian to the Islamicperiod,and the extensivearchitectureand objectsfurnishus withevidence
of the cultureduringthisperiodof change.
Nippurin southernMesopotamiawas
firstexploredinthe mid-nineteenthcenturyand firstexcavated,bythe University
of Pennsylvania,from1889 to 1900. Commencingagainin 1948 and continuingto
1961, seven campaignswere sponsored
bythe OrientalInstituteof the University
of Chicagoandthe Universityof Pennsylvania,the latterreplacedin 1953 bythe
AmericanSchools of OrientalResearch.
MuseumactivelyparticiThe Metropolitan
patedinthe campaignsof 1957-58
and 1960-61.
Ancienttexts indicatethatNippurwas
a majorreligiouscenterratherthana
powerfulsecularstate, and the archaeologicalremainsdocumentthatreputation.
A largetempleprecinctcalled the Ekur

witha templeof the god Enlilwitha ziggurat,a templeof the goddess Inannathat
was rebuiltmanytimes overthe millennia
(fig.44), and scribalquartersare the
mainarchitectural
and culturalfeaturesat
the site. Seven brickfoundationboxes of
the kingShulgiwere discoveredbeneath
the templeof Inanna,whichdates from
the ThirdDynastyof Ur(2.112-2004 B.C.),
and three boxes of his father,Urnammu,
were discoveredbeneaththe Ekurfoundations;they are amongthe most notable artifactsfoundthere. Each box containeda bronzepeg statuetteof the king,
representedcarryinga basketof mortar
forthe ritualbuildingof the temple.One
of the Shulgistatuettes(fig.45) is inthe
Museum'scollection.
A massive area withfortification
walls
five miles longsurroundingan area of
some nine hundredacres, the Assyrian
site of Nimrudin northernMesopotamia
has concernedarchaeologistssince

46

48
37

4950

50

1845-54, when AustenHenryLayard


excavatedthere. He was followedby
WilliamKennettLoftusin 1854-55, and
George Smithin 1873 and 1876, and
three-quartersof a centurylaterby Max
E. L.Mallowan,who conductedthirteen
campaignsbetween 1949 and 1963. The
Museumsupportedeleven
Metropolitan
of these campaigns,from1951 to 1963its longestand most fruitfulinvolvementin
archaeologicalresearchinthe NearEast.
Nimrudhas manypreservedpalaces
and temples builtby variousAssyrian
kings,each yieldingquantitiesof artifacts.
The Citadel,inthe southwestcorner,and
the militaryarea called FortShalmaneser,
inthe southeast, are particularly
interesting because fromthe palaces, fort,and
wells were recoveredthe most extraordinaryfindsat the site, the Nimrudivories:
thousandsof carvingsin reliefand inthe
round,depictingbattle,ritual,and genre
scenes, executed inthe styles of the
Assyrianand neighboringcultures,in
38

particular
Syrianand Phoenician.Forits
supportthe Museumreceivedaboutone
hundredfortyivories,two of whichare
illustratedon p. 37. One is masterfully
sculptedin Phoenicianstyle and depicts
a Nubianbringingan oryxand a monkey
as giftsto the Assyrianking(fig.48). The
other,in Syrianstyle, is the head of a
womanwithnecklace and braidedhair
(fig.47). Eachshows the skilland precision of ancientartistswithdifferent
backgrounds.
Hasanlu(fig.49) in northwesternIran
was excavatedin 1936 by AurelStein;
from1956 to 1974 bythe Universityof
Pennsylvania;and from1959 on, with
the Metropolitan.
Itwas settled inthe
sixthmillenniumB.C.and was occupied
throughthe Bronzeand IronAge periods.
The mostextensivelypreservedlevel is
PeriodIV,or IronAge II,datingfromthe
twelfthor eleventhcenturyB.C.to close to
800 B.C., when the site was violently

destroyed.The precedinglevel, PeriodV,


IronI,dates frombetweenthe fourteenth
andthe twelfthor eleventhcenturyB.C.
The continuityof cultureof the two periods is indicatedby architectural
features
andmonochromepotterycommonto both.
Thousandsof artifactsmade of terracotta, bronze,iron,gold, silver,and ivory
were foundinthe monumentalPeriodIV
buildings,whichare characterizedby a
columnedcentralhallsurroundedby
storageroomsand an entrancethrough
a grandportico.Withineach hallare
hearths,benches, and a raisedthrone

area. Whetherpalaces or temples,the


buildingsclearlyhad a majorstate
function.
TheMuseumhas acquiredmanydiverse
artifacts,some of whichare characteristic
of Hasanluand notfoundelsewhere.
Amongthese are bronzelionsjoinedto
ironshanks (fig.50), whichare associated withvictimsat the largestbuilding
uncovered,BurnedBuildingII.The lion
pinswere worntwo or threeto a garment.
Because the artifactsrecoveredfrom
PeriodIVwere in use at the timeof the
destruction,archaeologistshave a significantand preciselydatedcorpusof
material.
In1967,1970,1973, and 1974, the
Museumand the British
Metropolitan
Instituteof PersianStudiesjointlyexcavatedthe site of Nush-iJan, forty-two
miles south of HamadaninwesternIran.
Builton the summitof a naturalshale
outcropthirty-sevenmetershigh,the site
dramaticallydominatesthe surrounding
plain(fig.51). Threeperiodsof occupationwere revealed,the earliestof which
is Median,datingfromthe lateeighth
century to about 600 B.C.,followed by

Achaemenidand Parthianlevels. The


best preservedis the Median,containing
fourlargemud-brickbuildings.
The CentralTempleat Nush-iJan is
architecturally
unparalleledinthe Near
East. Lozenge-shaped,it has a freestandingfirealtar,suggestingthatthe
buildingwas a templeforfire-worshiping
ceremonies.Sometimebeforethe aban-

donmentof the site, the templewas


painstakinglyfilledwithstones and mud,
allowingthe buildingto be preservedto a
heightof eight meters.Whythis "burial"
occurredis a mystery.The adjacentFort
Building,identifiedas such by its buttressed wallsand arrowslots, had four
parallelmagazines,suggesting thatit
also served to store goods. Ina passageway a hoardof 200 silverobjects
-earrings, bars, quadrupleand double
spirals(fig.52)-was discoveredin a
bronzebowl.The OldWesternBuilding,
one of the earliest,also has an altarand
mayhave been a temple.This building
was not buriedbutallowedto decay beforethe finalabandonment.The fourth
buildingis rectangularand has a columnedhallof the same basic planas the
contemporaryhallat nearbyGodinTepe
and those at the earliersite of Hasanlu.
Nush-iJan is significantforits unique
and well-preservedMedianremains.
Atpresentonlyone otherprobable
Mediansite has been excavated,Godin
Tepe;the capitalcityat Hamadan
remains unexcavated.

O.W.M.

Inthe late1920s, largequantitiesof bronze


artifactsbegan to circulateinthe art
market,and by 1930 theirsource was
recognizedas Luristan,a mountainous
regionin westernIran,borderingMesopotamiaand Elam.Aside froma few
archaeologicalcampaigns, especially
those of ErichSchmidtat SurkhDumin
1938 and LouisVandenBergheat many
sites from1965 to 1979, the great majorityof Luristanbronzes derivefromclandestinedigging.The Metropolitan
Museum
has in its collectionforty-oneobjects,
twenty-fourof them bronzes,fromSurkh
Dum.Because so manybronzes have
been dispersed so widely,it is impossible
to estimatethe numberin existence, but
there mustbe thousands.
We do not knowthe ancientname and
languageof Luristan,or whythe bronzes
were made, or whatconstitutedthe economy thatsupportedtheirmanufacture.It
is also difficultto identifythe fullrangeof
culturalartifactsand to establishtheir

56

40

chronology. Nevertheless, we are able to


recognize as classic Luristantypes the
stylized standards and finials, horse
cheekpieces, hammered and cast pins,
bracelets, whetstone handles, weapons,
and quivers. And although ancient cultures existed in the region from as early
as the thirdmillennium B.C., the typical
Luristanbronzes did not appear untilthe
early first millennium B.C.They reached
full production in the eighth and seventh
centuries B c and mysteriously terminated a century before the advent of the
Persian empire.
Each of the four objects shown here is
a typical Luristanbronze, representing
one of a variety of forms for its class. The
openwork pin (fig. 54), was excavated at
Surkh Dum along with other examples,
some enclosed within walls, others stuck
in cracks or joints. This pin depicts a
squatting female who holds at bay two
horned animals, represented only by their
heads and necks that curve into a frame.

The female may be in a birthingposition,


and because it came from a sanctuary,
the pin may have been dedicated by a
woman seeking a healthy delivery.
Horse bits with figured cheekpieces
(fig. 56) and iconic finials are ubiquitous
and represent the most characteristic
forms of the Luristancorpus. The cheekpieces are in the shape of horses, lions,
mouflons, goats, or fantastic creatures. If
they were in fact buried in graves, then it
was probably the custom for an individual
to carry his personal bit with him to the
next world, to serve for future ridingor
symbolically to represent the horse itself.
Finials were also presumably taken by
their owners to their graves. Mounted on
bottle-shaped supports, a number of
which survive, they occur in a great variety of forms, often depicting heraldic animals or a central figure between two
animals. On the Museum's example (fig.
53) a detached male head is held by two
heraldic felines. Because of the large

number known, we may assume that


finials existed in most Luristanhouseholds.
serving as icons or representations of
the many spirits and deities who required
to be placated and worshiped constantly.
The quiver plaque (fig. 55) was once
attached to a leather backing and is
decorated with seven uneven horizontal
panels in repousse with superbly rendered mythological scenes. Rampant
winged bulls flanking a tree and a procession of antelope frame three narrative
panels. At the top are horned and winged
humanoids holding a lion at bay, followed
by rampant lions flanking a small figure
who holds lions and a central figure
seemingly threatened by two bulbousnosed creatures. We cannot interpret
these scenes, but clearly they represent
mythological or cultic events of some
importance. A small number of other
Luristanquiver plaques exist, but none is
so richlyembellished as the present
example. O W.M

41

57

Clay, so abundant and useful a resource,


was developed and exploited throughout
Near Eastern history. The great potential

of fired clay was first understood in the


seventh millennium B.C. From that point
on, pottery was the most common type of
object to come from the ancient ruins of
Near Eastern civilizations. In the Chalcolithic period of the fourth millennium B.C.,
painted decoration on pottery flourished,
particularlyin Iran.Artisans first painted
geometric designs in dark brown or black
on buffclay vessels, which were made on
a slow wheel. Gradually they included
more and more animal figures in their
decorative schemes. A large storage jar
(fig. 58) is similar in shape, fabric, and
painted decoration to ones found at the
central Iraniansite of Tepe Sialk in
levels III6-7. Ithas on its side schematic
silhouettes of three mountain goats, whose
enormous ridged horns arch majestically
over their bodies. The zigzag-and-band
decoration separating the goats is typical
of Sialk pottery of this early period.
More than a thousand years later, from

I~~~~~ -~~~
s~~~~~~~
I

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.~~~1

'

the site of Tureng Tepe in the Iranian


Gurgan Plain just to the east of the Caspian Sea, a completely different but
equally successful variety of pottery
(fig. 57) was produced. Its gray-colored
surface-the result of firing in a reducing rather than oxidizing kiln-is textured
with six registers of crisscross patterns
made by burnishing the surface to a
high polish.
Duringthe second millennium B.C.the
technology was developed for both the
glazing of pottery and the manufacturing
of glass vessels. A large jar (fig. 59)
glazed with green, blue, brown, yellow,
white, and black and decorated with petals above bulls kneeling before trees is
one of three in the Museum's collection
reportedly from the early first-millennium
B.C site of Ziwiye in northwestern Iran. It
is similar in shape and decoration to
examples excavated at the Assyrian city
of Assur on the Tigris. H.P.

_iiiiii

L
_illflffBflffIPqlHfs58

59
42

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Inantiquitythe manymountainrangesof
the NearEast, includingthe Taurusof
easternTurkey,the Zagrosof western
Iran,and the Caucasus betweenthe
Blackand Caspianseas, were richin
B.C.
metallicores. Atseventh-millennium
sites such as Cayonu,TellRamad,and
AliKoshthe earlieststages of metalworkingtechnologyare documented.
Towardthe end of the fourthmillennium B.C., the burgeoning urban centers

inthe lowlandsbegan to demandmetals


to makeobjectsforthe rulingelite and for
the growingtemplecomplexes. Bythis
time,the basic propertiesof some nonferrous metals-especially copper,gold,
silver,and lead-were understood.Itwas
known,forexample,thatthe shape of

60

metalcouldbe alteredby heatingitto a


liquidstate, pouringit intoa mold,and
lettingitcool and harden.Metalswere
also shaped by alternatelyhammering
and heatingthem in a process nowcalled
annealing.Artisanshad learnedas well
-probably bytrialand error-that when
some metals are mixedintheirliquid
state, they combineto forma metallic
alloy,a new materialthatis often,when
liquid,morefluidand, when cool, harder
than its components.
malleThe propertiesof meltability,
ability,and miscibilityare the basis of two
of the most importanttechniquesof ancient metalworking-hammeringand
casting. Hammeringwas used to make
orto finishall kindsof objects.Vessels,

such as the elaboratelydecoratedone


(fig.62) fromLuristan,were made entirelyby hammering.The shape was
formedbyraisingorsinkingthe bronze-a
copper-and-tinalloy-by hammerblows.
This particularvessel was made intwo
parts,joinedin the middleby bronze
rivets.Six registersof birds,trees, and
hornedand stridinganimalswere hammeredup fromthe vessel's surfaceinthe
repousse technique.The bodies were
then elaboratelydecoratedwithchased
lines createdby a dulltoolthat,when
struck,pushed the metalto eitherside.
Goldis a soft metal,easily workedby
hammering.A westernIraniantrapezoidal plaqueof the firstmillenniumB.C. (fig.
64) was made inthe same way as

62
44

Aw2;J,
/

the decorated bronze vessel: by hammering, repousse, and chasing. A most


impressive example of the hammering
technique is the lovely silver figurine of
an antelope (fig. 61), which is identified
here on the basis of stylistic and iconographic traits as the creation of a ProtoElamite master of the third millennium

the earliest examples of the more complex technique of lost-wax casting around
a central ceramic core.
A handsome silver plate (fig. 63), a
product of the last part of the Sasanian

period(fifthto earlysixthcenturyA.D.),

millenniumB.C. ibex stand (fig.60),

combines the metalworking techniques


described above with others. The plate
itself was hammered into its final shape
from a cast ingot. The low-relief decoration was formed by carving away the
background close to the figures, while
the higher relief of the bodies of the king,
his horse, and the rams was made from
separate cast or hammered pieces that
were crimped into place. The linear details were either chased into the silver or
engraved-a process of cutting instead
of pushing away strips of metal. A ring
base was attached with solder to the
bottom of the plate. Except for the king's
face and hands, all the decoration is
gilded with an amalgam of gold and
mercury. Niello, a shiny black, hard compound of silver and sulphur, accents the
king's quiver and bow, and the rams'

of copper alloyed with arsenic, is among

horns,tails, and hooves.

B.C. Boththe gazelle and the contempo-

rary kneeling silver bull (see fig. 23) were


made from separate pieces of silver hammered into shape; each piece was then
fitted into the other and finallyjoined by
silver solder.
By the fourth millennium B.C., lost-wax,
as well as open- and bivalve-mold casting had been developed. Inthe ingenious lost-wax process the desired image
is sculpted in wax, which is then surrounded with a clay investment that hardens into a mold when baked. The mold
has a negative space, corresponding to
the burnt-wax image, into which is poured
molten metal that hardens into the shape
of the original wax model. The third-

H.P.

64

46

rl

'

tt..u

IlIiaD

.:':
-A%i
L-.
i,i

~1

48

Pieces of jewelryare mentionedin ancient Near Easterntexts as royalgifts,


partsof bridaldowries,tribute,and booty.
They are also recordedin the inventories
of templesandworkshops.Althoughthere
musthave been manysuch precious
objects,only a few have been preserved.
A majorexceptionis the jewelrydating
fromthe mid-thirdmillenniumB.Cfound
by SirLeonardWoolleyin his excavations at UrinsouthernMesopotamia.The
headdress ornament(fig.66), made of
gold pendantsinthe formof poplarleaves
and carnelianand lapis-lazulibeads, belongedto one of the lavishlyadorned
female attendantsin the "King'sTomb."
She also woretwo necklaces of gold and
lapis lazuli,gold hairribbons,and two
silverhairrings,allof whichare now in
the Museum'scollection.The largenumberof objects made of preciousmaterials
attestsnotonlyto greatwealthand sophisticatedtechnicalability,butalso to a
far-reachingtradenetwork:the materials
had to be importedintosouthernMesopotamia(see p. 15).
A rareexample of second-millennium
B.C.craftsmanshipis the gold necklace
withpendants(see fig. 19) illustratedon
page 20. The granulationis particularly
finelyexecuted. Similarjewelryelements
of gold-medallions, crescents, and
beads-found in recentexcavationsat
Larsain southernMesopotamiasuggest
thatthe Museum'spiece maydate from
the nineteenthor eighteenthcenturyB.C.
Ourknowledgeof jewelryof the first

65

millenniumB.C. is augmentedbydetailed
representationson the stone reliefsfrom
the Neo-Assyrianpalaces. Forexample,
inthe relief(see fig. 3) fromthe Northwest Palace at Nimrud,whichshows
the kingAssurnasirpalIIand an attendant,
one can see the richarrayof jewelry
worn-necklaces, bracelets,armlets,and
crescent-shapedearringswithpendants.
Plaques sewn on garments-also
called bracteates-were commonin the
fifth-century
Scythiangravesof southern
Russia (see fig. 41). Goldappliqueswere
also popularin AchaemenidPersia.The
lion-headbracteates(fig.67) have five
ringson the back,allowingthemto
be attachedto clothgarmentsor tent
hangings.
The gold necklace (fig.65) is made up
of elements fromthe Achaemenidperiod,
includinga head of Bes-an Egyptian
god-plaques of a male figurewitha
horse, and lotusterminals.Similar
jewelryelements were excavatedat
Pasargadae,where morethanone hundredthirtyimages of Bes, humanheads
in profile,and the heads of ibexes and
lionswere foundtogetherin a jar.
The sumptuousobjectswornbythe
Persiansare confirmedby Herodotus
(VII,83): "Ofallthe troopsthe Persians
were adornedwiththe greatestmagnificence.... they glitteredalloverwithgold,
vast quantitiesof whichthey wore about
theirperson."Herodotusalso tells us that
Persiantentscapturedat PlateainGreece
were"adornedwithgoldandsilver." B.A.P.

Ns

67

66
I

49

C.1
0
Q)

Clothingin the Near East was commonly


made of goat's hairand sheep's wool.A
formof dress frequentlyrepresentedin
Sumerianand Akkadianartis the calflengthskirtcoveredwithtuftsof wool
(see figs. 21, 70). Wrappedaroundthe
lowerbodyand occasionallydrapedover
one shoulder,this distinctivegarment
was wornthroughoutthe thirdmillennium
B.C. in Mesopotamia.Intime, longergarments (see figs. 2, 69) made of a single
piece of wool or linenfabricreplacedthe
earlierskirt.The robes had fringedborders or severalhorizontalbands of fringes
(see figs. 20, 27). Sleeved garmentsand
shawls (see fig. 3, inside covers) of the
Neo-Assyrian period (883-612 B.C.)re-

tainedthisfringedborderand were also


enrichedwithwoven and embroidered
designs and metalappliques.
On a relieffromthe Achaemenidpalace at Persepolis(fig.68), one figureis
in Persiandress and wears a longfullsleeved tunicof a lighttextile.A second
figureis in Mediandress, a knee-length
tunicand close-fittingtrousersof thick
wool or leather-clothing appropriatefor
a horseman.The folds of a similartunic
and trouserswornbythe Sasanian king
(see fig.63) indicatethat inthis case the
fabricis thin,perhapssilk. Impractical
as
this materialwas forhuntingwear,itwas
representedto symbolizethe luxuriousness of royaldress.
Throughthe millennia,in the artof the
Near East, a cap decoratedwithbull's
horns(see figs. 20, 27) signifiedthatthe
wearerwas a god. Onlyrarelydidhuman
rulers claim divinityand adopt this
headgear. A headdress wornby southern Mesopotamianrulersin the latethird
and earlysecond millenniaB.C. is a wool
cap (see figs. 2, 69). Laterinthe second
millennium
B.C.andearlyinthe firstmillenniumB.C.a high,fezlikecap (see fig. 3)
was wornin Mesopotamiaby nobles and
kings.Underthe AchaemenidPersiansa
new crownwithstepped crenellations
made its appearance.This
form,enrichedby many
elements such as crescent
moons, sun rays,wings,
and globes, became the
royalcrownof Sasanian
70 ^^^^9
P.O.H.
kings(see fig. 5).

69
51

About3000 B.C. writingwas inventedin


Mesopotamia as a method of recording
and storing primarilyeconomic information. In Egypt early records were kept on
papyrus. But since Mesopotamia was
located along the banks of the Tigris and
Euphrates, where clay was plentifuland
inexpensive, this material was used for
the earliest documents. Writingwas done
with a reed or bone stylus on small pillowshaped tablets, most of which were only
a few inches wide and fit easily into one's
palm. The stylus left small marks in the
clay that we call cuneiform, or wedgeshaped, writing.
The earliest script was pictographic
-rendering realistic drawings of objects
familiarin everyday life. It is not certain
who developed this picture writing;we
can only inferfrom archaeological records that it was the Sumerians, who
soon after developed a system in which
drawings in clay were replaced by signs

52

representing the sounds of the Sumerian


language.
Cuneiform was adopted by other
cultures, and its use quickly spread
throughout the Near East. The early
Elamites, who lived to the east of Mesopotamia (in the area of modern-day Iran),
and various groups of Semitic-speaking
peoples, who dwelt along the Tigris and
Euphrates, also used cuneiform signs in
their writing. By the second millennium
B.C.,

cuneiformwritingwas widelyused

by many cultures in the Near East. Later


the Urartians,in the northernmost parts of
Mesopotamia, also used cuneiform, which
can be seen on the band above the second arcade on the Urartianbell (fig. 74)
inscribed with the king's name, Argishti.
Hundreds of thousands of cuneiform
tablets have been excavated in the Near
East, while countless others still lie buried beneath the rubble of ancient, unexcavated cities. The Museum has over five

hundredtexts and inscriptionsdating


fromearlySumeriantimes (ca. 2800 B.C.)
untilthe firstcenturyA.D.
MostMesopotamiantabletsare records of commercial,legal,or administrativeactivities.One of the earliest
Mesopotamianlegal documentsinthe
Museum'scollectionis a smallSumerian
stone stele (fig.71), probablyfromthe
E-nunTempleof the god Sharaat Umma.
The stele has been interpretedas either
a recordof the purchaseof properties
and commoditiesbythe priestUshumgal
or as a recordof his bequest of these
propertiesand commoditiesto various
people, includinghis daughter.
The clay envelope of a tablet(fig.73)
dates to the OldAssyrianColonyperiod
inAnatolia(1920-1750 B.C.). The actual
tabletcontainedin the envelope is a legal
depositionregardingtheft,swornin a
courtof law.The clay envelope is impressed on each side (herethe obverse)
fivetimeswithtwodifferentcylinderseals.
Recordsand inscriptionsalso commemoratedroyalachievements,such as
the buildingof a palace, or extolledmilitaryvictories.The rimof the Achaemenid
gold bowl(fig.72) is inscribed"Darius,
the great king"in OldPersian,Elamite,
and Neo-Babylonian.
The writtenrecordfromthe ancient
NearEast is extensive. The documents
provideinformationneeded to understandthe political,economic,social, legal,
intellectual,and religioustraditionsof
mankind'sfirstcivilizations. i.s.

73

74
53

iconographically varied seals in the ancient Near East. The lapis-lazuli


seal (fig. 76) depicts the struggle of a
nude hero and his allies, bull-men, to
protect the herd animals from lions.
Many seals of the Third Dynasty of Ur
through the Old Babylonian period
(2112-1595 B.C.)show scenes of presentation and worship. On an amethyst
example (fig. 77) are a male figure with a
mace and a suppliant goddess, both of
whom are represented on many contemporary seals in virtuallythe same
manner. The ownership of the seal is
indicated by the inscription: "NurShamash, comptroller in the palace, son of
Dummuqum, servant of Rimsin [king
of Larsa].'
The carnelian seal (fig. 78) with a
design of two lion-griffinsattacking a
mountain goat belongs to the Middle
Assyrian period (1350-1000 B C ), when
a naturalistic style was favored. The rest
of the design includes a bird, a star, and

Seals were prized possessions in the


ancient Near East and served as propitious amulets for their owners. They were
impressed on the clay that sealed doors,
storage jars, and bales of commodities
as well as on clay tablets and envelopes
(fig. 73). They are miniature works
of art carved with designs whose style
and iconography vary with period and
region. Seals first appeared in northern
Syria and Anatolia during the late sixth
millennium B.C. in the form of stamps. In
Mesopotamia, from the mid-fourthmillennium untilthe first millennium B.C., the
cylinder was the preferred shape.
The cylinder seal (fig. 75) depicting
women with their hair in pigtails was
excavated in the Inanna Temple at Nippur.
Similar seals with pigtailed figures of
the late Urukand Jemdet Nasr periods
(ca. 3200-2900 B.C ) have been found
at sites from Egypt to Iran.
The Akkadian period (2334-2154 B.C.)
produced some of the most beautiful and

I*

fi;;

t", -

r.

a thistlelike flower. Landscape elements


were frequently depicted on seals of
this period.
The seventh-century B C Neo-Assyrian
seal (fig. 79) was found in the Nabu
Temple at Nimrud. Seals were frequently
deposited as offerings in temples, which
were also centers of economic activity.
From the Neo-Assyrian period (883612 B C ) stamps began to be used along
with cylinders. This was apparently due
to the adoption in Mesopotamia of the
Aramaic script, written on papyrus or
leather that was sealed with small
clay dockets, more easily impressed with
a stamp. In the Neo-Babylonian period
(625-539 B.C.) symbols of gods were a
major part of the seal design. The example below (fig. 80) is engraved with a
male worshiper standing before an altar
surmounted by a spade, symbol of
Marduk,chief god of the Babylonian
pantheon, and the stylus of Nabu, god of
writing. B.A.PR

?'

r
"ge-

75

/
t

78

r
I

.;,e.;
fA

" 'i !tW: : '

.,

11

/,-

,:

S-;

I_-

tf

iF--

i4

..1

^"- : *

:.
TN

79
76

f
80
77

54

Mesopotamia (South)

Mesopotamia (North)

Iran

Anatolia

Levant

Egypt

3500 B.C.

3500 B.C.

3000 B.C.

Uruk 3500-3100

Proto-Urban

Susa II

Jemdet Nasr 3100-2900

Proto-Elamite

Susa III

Chalcolithic

Archaic 3100-2686

3000 B.C.

Early Dynastic I-lila


2900-2500

2500 B.C. -

Sumero-Elamite Susa IV

Troy II

Early Bronze

2500 B.C.

Early Dynastic IIIb


2500-2334
Akkad Dynasty 2334-2154
Neo-Sumerian period
Gudea of Lagash
2144-2124
Third Dynasty of Ur
2112-2004

Alaca Hiuyk royal tombs

Akkad suzerainty in Susa

First Intermediate
2160-2060

Old Elamite

i'"
,ffNnv'
luu R V0

Isin-Larsa period
2017-1763
Old Babylonian period
1894-1595
Hammurabi 1792-1750

Old Kingdom 2636-2160

Assyrian Colony period


1920-1750

Old Assyrian period


Middle Bronze

Old Hittite Empire


1650-1400

1500 B.C.

1500 B.C.
Kassite Dynasty 1595-1157

Mitannian Empire

Hittite Empire 1400-1200

1600-1350
Second Dynasty of Isin
1156-1025
IUU

2000 B.C.

Middle Kingdom
2060-1786
Second Intermediate
1786-1570
Hyksos 1667-1559

Middle Assyrian period


1350-1000

Middle Elamite
Iron I

D.C.

Hasanlu IV
ca. 1200-800
Neo-Assyrian Empire
883-612

Iron II
Iron III

Destruction of Uqarit by Sea Peoples


Iron Age
NE
eo-Hittite and
Kingdoms of Israel
Arramaean states
and Judah
Phoenicians

Neo-Elamite
Median Empire

UrartianKingdom 850-600
Phrygian Kingdom 775-690

Neo-Babylonian Empire
625-539

500 B.C.

New Kingdom 1570-1085

Late Bronze

ThirdIntermediate
1000 B.C.
Third Intermediate
1085-656

Late Dynastic 656-332


500 B.C.

Achaemenid Empire
550-331

0 B.C./
A.D.

Alexander the Great


331-323
Capture of Babylon 331
Seleucid Empire

Seleucid Empire

Alexander the Great


Capture of Tyre 332
Antigonid and
Seleucid Empires

Macedonian period
332-305
Ptolemaic period 305-30

M,

Parthian period
200 B.C.-A.D. 224

Parthian period

Sasanian Empire 226-651


500 A.D.

Sasanian Empire

Roman period

Byzantine Empire

Roman period

Byzantine Empire

~~~~~~~~~~~--~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~----

Roman perno
30 B.C.-A.D. 325

0 B.C./
A.D.

Coptic period 325-641

500 A.D.
II~~~~~~~~~~~~~

CREDITS
Front cover: Stag vessel. Silver with gold inlay
Anatolia, Hittite,Empire period, 15th-13th century
B.C.L. 611/16in. (17 cm.), H. 71/16 in. (18 cm.). Lent by
Norbert Schimmel (L.1983.119.1)
Back cover: Detail of frieze on the stag vessel
depicted on front cover showing a male god standing on a stag and facing a man who is pouring liquid
from a spouted vessel.
Inside front cover: Relief with two registers of sacred tree attended by divinities. Alabaster. Northern
Mesopotamia, Nimrud, Northwest Palace of Assurnasirpal 11(883-859 B.C.),Neo-Assyrian period. H. 893/4
in. (227.9 cm.), W.83 in. (210.8 cm.). Giftof John
D. Rockefeller, Jr., 1932 (32.143.3)
Inside back cover: Relief of bird-headed divinity
Alabaster. Northern Mesopotamia, Nimrud, Northwest Palace of Assurnasirpal II(883-859 B.C.), NeoAssyrian period. H. 905/8(230.2 cm.), W. 713/8in.
(181.3 cm.). Giftof John D. Rockefeller, Jr., 1931
(31.72.3)
1. Head of a dignitary Arsenical copper. Western
Asia, late 3rd millennium B.C.H. 131/2in. (34.3 cm.).
Rogers Fund, 1947 (47 100.80)
2. Seated statue of Gudea. Diorite. Southern Mesopotamia, probably Tello, Neo-Sumerian period, 21442124 B.C.H. 175/16 in. (44 cm.) HarrisBrisbane Dick
Fund, 1959 (59.2)

3. Relief of king and attendant. Alabaster. Northern


Mesopotamia, Nimrud, Northwest Palace of Assurnasirpal 11(883-859 B.C.),Neo-Assyrian period. H. 92
in. (233.7 cm.), W.901/4in. (229.2 cm.). Giftof John
D. Rockefeller, Jr., 1932 (32.143.4)
4. Cylinderseal and modern impression. Chalcedony
Iran,Achaemenid period, 550-450 B.C.H. 7/8in.
(2.2 cm.), Diam. 7/16in. (1.1 cm.). Collection of Mrs.
WilliamH. Moore, Lent by Rt. Rev. Paul Moore, Jr.
(L.55.49.126)
5. Head of a king. Silver,with mercury gilding. Iran,
Sasanian period, A.D.4th century H. 153/4in. (40
cm.). Fletcher Fund, 1965 (65.126)
6. Bull head. Limestone. Southern Iran, Persepolis,
Achaemenid period, ca. 5th century B.C.H. 181/2in.
(47 cm.). Rogers Fund, 1947 (47.100.83)
7. Statuette of man carrying box on head. Arsenical
copper. Mesopotamia, Sumerian, Early Dynastic II
period, 2750-2600 B.C.H. 147/8in. (37.8 cm.).
HarrisBrisbane Dick Fund, 1955 (55.142)
8. Male head used as a spout. Ceramic, originally
glazed. Iran,Parthian period, ca. A.D.1st-2nd
century H. 81/4in. (20.9 cm.). Giftof WalterHauser,
1956 (56.56)
9. Panel with striding lion. Glazed brick. Southern
Mesopotamia, Babylon, Processional Way,
Neo-Babylonian period, reign of Nebuchadnezzar II
(604-562 B.C.).W.891/2in. (227.3 cm.), H.

381/4in. (97.2 cm.). Fletcher Fund, by exchange,


1931 (31.13.2)
10. Ewer.Gold. North-centralAnatolia, late 3rd millennium B.C.H. 7 in. (17.8cm.), Diam. 43/4in. (12.1
cm.). Harris Brisbane Dick Fund, 1957 (57.67)
11. Oval bowl. Silver with mercury gilding. Iran,
Sasanian period, A.D.6th-7th century L. 93/16in.
(23.3. cm.), W.43/8in. (11.1 cm.). Fletcher Fund,
1959 (59.130.1)
12. Vessel in shape of horse's head. Silver with gold
foil. Iran,Achaemenid period, ca. 5th century B.C.
L. 81/16in. (20.4 cm.). Rogers Fund, 1947 (47.100.87)
13. Rhyton with forepart of a panther. Silver with mercury gilding. Iran,Parthianperiod, ca. 1st century B.C.
H. 107/8in. (27.5 cm.). Purchase, Rogers Fund,
Enid A. Haupt, Mrs. Donald M. Oenslager, Mrs.
MurielPalitz, and Geert C. E. Prins Gifts; Pauline V
Fullerton Bequest; and Bequests of MaryCushing
Fosburgh, Edward C. Moore, and Stephen Whitney
Phoenix, by exchange, 1979(1979.447)
14. Vessel with forepart of a lion. Gold. Iran,
Achaemenid period, ca. 5th century B.C.H. 63/4in.
(17.1 cm.). Fletcher Fund, 1954 (54.3.3)
15. Relief with cavalrymen in the mountains. Alabaster. Northern Mesopotamia, Nineveh, Palace of
Sennacherib (704-681 B.C.),Neo-Assyrian period.
H. 22 in. (55.9 cm.), W.34 in. (86.4 cm.). Giftof
John D. Rockefeller, Jr., 1932 (32.143.16)

55

16. Sword.Ironwithcarnelianinlays.Iran,Luristan,
ca. 750-650 B.C. L. 193/4in.(50.1 cm.). Giftof
H. DunscombeColt,1961 (61.62)
17. Detailof swordhiltand scabbard. Goldover
wood withgarnetand glass paste jewelsand giltbronzeguard.Iran,Sasanianperiod,ca. A.D. 7th
centuryFullI. 391/2in. (100.3 cm.). RogersFund,
1965 (65.28)
18. Cylinderseal and modernimpression.Yellow
chert.Mesopotamia,Neo-Assyrianperiod,ca. 9th8th centuryB.C. H. 17/16in. (3.7 cm.), Diam. 5/8in.
(1.6 cm.). Giftof MatildaW.Bruce,1907 (07.155.1)
19. Necklacewithpendants.Gold.SouthernMesopotamia,ca. 19th-18thcenturyB.C.L. 1615/16in.
(43 cm.). FletcherFund,1947 (47.la-h)
20. Helmet.Bronzewithgold and silverfoilover
bitumen.SouthwesternIran,Elamite,ca. 1300 B.C.
in.(22.1 cm.). Fletcher
H.61/2in.(16.5 cm.), W.811/16
Fund,1963 (63.74)
21. Standingmalefigure.Gypsum.SouthernMesopotamia,TellAsmar,SquareTemple,ShrineII,Sumerian,
EarlyDynasticIIperiod,2750-2600 B.C. H. 115/8
in. (29.5 cm.). FletcherFund,by exchange, 1940
(40.156)
22. Cultvessel inshape ofa tower.Ceramic.Syria(?),
ca. 19thcenturyB.C. H. 123/8in.(31.4 cm.), W.31/4
in. (8.3 cm.). RogersFund,1968 (68.155)
23. Kneelingbullholdingvessel. Silver.Southwestern Iran,Proto-Elamite
period,ca. 2900 B.C. H.67/16
in. (16.3 cm.), W.21/2in. (6.3 cm.). Purchase,
Joseph PulitzerBequest, 1966 (66.173)
24. Pendantof seated goddess holdingchild.Gold.
Anatolia,Hittite,Empireperiod,15th-13thcentury
B.C. H. 11/16in. (4 3 cm.). Lentby NorbertSchimmel
(L.1983.119.3).
25. Femalefigure.Ceramic.Iran,ca. 900B.C.H.125/16
in.(31.3 cm.), W.61/4in. (15.9 cm.). HarrisBrisbane
DickFund,1964 (64.130)
26. Ewer.Silverwithmercurygilding.Iran,Sasanian
period,ca. A.D. 6th-7th century.H. 133/8in.(34 cm.).
Purchase,Mr.and Mrs.C. DouglasDillonGiftand
RogersFund,1967 (67.10)
27. Cylinderseal and modernimpression.Hematite.
Mesopotamia,OldBabylonianperiod,ca. 1850-1700
B.C. H. 11/16 in. (2.7 cm.), Diam. 9/16 in. (1.4 cm.).

Collectionof Mrs.WilliamH. Moore,Lentby Rt.Rev.


PaulMoore,Jr.(L.55.49.180).
28. Shaft-holeaxe. Silverwithgold foil.Northern
Afghanistan,ca. 2000-1750 B.C.L.57/8in. (15,cm.).
Purchase,HarrisBrisbaneDickFund,James N.
Spear and SchimmelFoundationInc.Gifts,1982
(1982.5)
ornamentof femalesphinx.IvoryAna29. Furniture
tolia,Acemhoyuk,ca. 19thcenturyB.C.H.5 in. (12.7
cm.), W.11/2 in.(3.8 cm.). Giftof Mrs.George D.
Pratt,in memoryof GeorgeD. Pratt,1936 (36.70.8)
30. Cylinderseal and modernimpression.Metadiorite.Mesopotamia,Akkadianperiod,2334-2154
B.C. H. 11/4in. (3.2 cm.), Diam. 11/16in. (1.7 cm.).

Giftof WalterHauser,1955 (55.65.5)


31. Ornamentwithconfrontedleoninecreatures.
Gold. Iran,Achaemenidperiod,ca. 6th-5th century
B.C. H.53/8in. (13.6 cm.), W.37/8in. (9.8 cm.).
RogersFund,1954 (54.3.2)
32. Standardwithtwo long-hornedbulls.Arsenical
Anatolia,reportedlyfrom
copper.North-central
Horoztepe.EarlyBronzeAge period,2300-2000
B.C.H.61/4in.(15.9 cm.), W.53/4in. (14.6 cm.).
Purchase,Joseph PulitzerBequest, 1955 (55.137.5)
33. Panelwithbullhunt.IvoryNorthwestern
Iran,
reportedlyfromZiwiye,ca. 8th-7th centuryB.C.H.21/4
in. (5.7 cm.), W.63/16in. (15.8 cm.). FletcherFund,
1951 (51.131.5)
34. Cupwithfourgazelles. Gold.Northwestern
Iran,
ca. 1000 B.C.H.to rim21/2in. (6.3 cm.), Diam.of rim
33/8in. (8.5 cm.). RogersFund,1962 (62.84)
35. Foundationpeg withlion.Bronze.NorthernSyria
ca. 2200 B.C. H.45/8 in.
or Mesopotamia,Hurrian,
(11.7 cm.), W.31/8in. (7.9 cm.). Purchase,Joseph

b. H. 43/16in. (10.6 cm.), W.51/8in. (13 cm.)

36. Recumbentmouflon.Marble.IndusValleyca.
2500-2000 B.C. L. 111/16in.(28 cm.). Anonymous
Giftand RogersFund,1978 (1978.58)
37. Cylinderseal and modernimpression.Serpentine.Mesopotamia,Akkadianperiod,2334-2154 B.C.

c. L.81/2in.(21.5 cm.) [mouthpiece].


Bequestof CoraTimkenBurnett,1957(57.51.40a-c)
57. Jar.Ceramic.NortheasternIran,TurengTepe,
ca. 1900 B.C.H.81/2in.(21.7 cm.), Diam.
61/4in. (15.8 cm.). RogersFund,1948 (48.98.24)
58. Jar.Ceramic.CentralIran,ca. 3100 B.C. H.207/8
in.(53 cm.). Purchase,Joseph PulitzerBequest,
1959 (59.52)
59. Jar.Glazedceramic.Northwestern
Iran,reportedly fromZiwiye,ca. 8th-7th centuryB.C.H. 171/4
in.(43.5 cm.), Diam.of rim43/8in. (11 cm.).
Purchase,Joseph PulitzerBequest, 1955 (55.121.2)
60. Vesselstandwithibexsupport.Arsenicalcopper
withshelland lapis-lazuliinlaySouthernMesopotamia,
Sumerian,EarlyDynasticIIIperiod,2600-2334 B.C.

of W.Gedney Beatty,1941 (41.160.192)


38. Plaquewithgoat. IvoryNorthernMesopotamia,
Nimrud,FortShalmaneser,Neo-Assyrianperiod,ca.

61. Antelope.Silver.Iran,Proto-Elamite
period,ca.
2900 B.C.L.4 in. (10.2 cm.). RogersFund,1947
(47.100.89)

Pulitzer Bequest, 1948 (48.180)

H. 11/8 in. (2.8 cm.), Diam. 11/16 in. (1.8 cm.). Bequest

56

8th centuryB.C.H.65/16in.(16 cm.). RogersFund,


1961 (61.197.6)
39. Vase.Chlorite.Mesopotamiaor Iran,EarlyDynastic 1/I11
period,2750-2334 B.C.H.91/4in. (23.5
cm.). Giftof J. PierpontMorgan,1917 (17.190.106)
40. Beaker.Silver.LowerDanuberegion,Thracian,
ca. 4thcenturyB.C.H. 73/8in.(18.7 cm.). Rogers
Fund,1947 (47.100.88)
41. Griffindress ornaments.Gold.NorthernBlack
Sea region,reportedlyfromMaikop,Scythian,ca.
5thcenturyB.C.H. 1 in. (2.5 cm.). FletcherFund,
1924 (24.97.50, 51)
42. Boarclasp. Goldon bone core withsilverbacking. Scythian,ca. 500 B.C. L.23/4in. (7 cm.), H.
13/8in. (3.5 cm.). Giftof ChristosG. Bastis, 1979
(1979.352.1)
43. Beltclasp. Bronze.Caucasus, ca. A.D.1st-3rd
centuryL.6 in.(15.2 cm.), H.53/4in.(14.6 cm.).
RogersFund,1921 (21.166.7)
44. Deep soundinginthe InannaTempleat Nippur
showingthe workmenuncoveringUrukperiodlevels.
Thisviewwas takenduringthe 1960-61 season of
the JointExpeditionto Nippurof the OrientalInstitute
and the AmericanSchools of OrientalResearch,
Baghdad.(Photograph:OrientalInstitute,
Universityof Chicago)
45. Foundationfigurine.Copper.SouthernMesopotamia,Nippur,InannaTemple,Neo-Sumerianperiod,
UrIIIdynasty,reignof Shulgi(2094-2047 B.C.).H.
in. (31.3 cm.). RogersFund,1959 (59.41.1)
125/1A6
46. Stand.Bronze.Iran,Qasr-iAbuNasr,Sasanian
period,ca. A.D.6th-7th centuryH. 161/2in. (41.9
cm.). RogersFund,1934 (34.107.1)
47. Femalehead. IvoryNorthernMesopotamia,
Nimrud,BurntPalace, Neo-Assyrianperiod,ca. 8th
centuryB.C.H.2 in. (5 cm.). RogersFund,1952
(52.23.3)
48. Figureof a tributebearer.IvoryNorthernMesopotamia,Nimrud,FortShalmaneser,Neo-Assyrian
period,ca. 8thcenturyB.C.H. 55/16 in. (13.5 cm.),
in. (7.2 cm.). RogersFund,1960 (60.145.11)
W.213/16
of thecentralmoundof Hasanlu
49. Aerialphotograph
innorthwestern
Iranas seen fromthe southwesttaken
duringthe 1962 season. (Photograph:University
Museum,Universityof Pennsylvania)
50. Lion-shapedpin.Bronze,iron.Northwestern
Iran,Hasanlu,Citadel,BurnedBuildingII,
Gatewayarea, LevelIV,9th centuryB.C.L.5 in.
(12.7 cm.), H. 11/2in. (3.8 cm.). Mrs.Constantine
Sidamon-Eristoff
Gift,1961 (61.100.10)
51. Viewof TepeNush-iJan inwesternIrantaken
duringthe firstseason of excavations(1967).(Photograph:BritishInstituteof PersianStudies)
52. Doublespiral.Silver.WesternIran,Nush-iJan,
Medianperiod,7thcenturyB.C.L.2 in. (5.1 cm.), W.
11/8in.(2.9 cm.). H. DunscombeColtGift,1969
(69.24.1)
53. Finial.Bronze.Iran,Luristan,ca. 8thcenturyB.C.
H.33/8in.(8.5 cm.), W.13/4in.(4.4 cm.). Giftof
George D. Pratt,1932 (32.161.20)
54. Pin.Bronze.Iran,Luristan,SurkhDum,ca. 8th
centuryB.C.L.55/8in.(14.3 cm.). RogersFund,
1943 (43.102.1)
55. Quiverplaque.Bronze.Iran,Luristan,
ca. 8th-7th
centuryB.C.L.21 in.(53.3 cm.), W.6 in. (15.3 cm.).
RogersFund,1941 (41.156)
56. Bitand cheekpieces fora horse. Bronze.Iran,
Luristan,ca. 8th-7th centuryB.C.
a. H.41/2in.(11.5 cm.), W.51/8in. (13 cm.)

H. 1511/16 in. (40 cm.). Rogers Fund, 1974 (1974.190)

62. Vase. Bronze.Northwestern


Iran,ca. 10th-9th
centuryB.C.H. 1311/16 in. (34.8 cm.), Diam.of rim
4 in. (10.2 cm.). Purchase,Joseph PulitzerBequest,
1964 (64.257.la)
63. PlatewithPerozor KavadI huntingrams.Silver
giltwithniello.Iran,Sasanianperiod,A.D.late5thearly6thcenturyH. 11/16 in.(4.3 cm.), Diam.85/8
in.(21.9 cm.). FletcherFund,1934 (34.33)
64. Plaquewithfriezes.Gold.Northwestern
Iran,
reportedlyfromZiwiye,ca. 8th-7th centuryB.C.H.
83/8in.(21.2 cm.), Max. w.105/8in. (27 cm.). Top
fragment:Annand GeorgeBlumenthalFund,1954
(54.3.5). Bottomfragment:RogersFund,1962
(62.78.1a,b)
65. NecklacewithBes head and figuredplaques.
Gold Iran,Achaemenidperiod,ca. 5th-4th
centuryB.C.H. 19/16in.(4 cm.), L.141/8in.
(35.9 cm.). Dodge Fund,1965 (65.169)
66. Headdressornament.Gold,carnelian,and lapis
lazuli.SouthernMesopotamia,Ur,RoyalCemetery,
Grave789, Sumerian,EarlyDynastic Ilaperiod,
in.(38.5 cm.). Excoll.:
2600-2500 B.C.L.153/16
The UniversityMuseum,Universityof Pennsylvania.
Dodge Fund,1933 (33.35.3)
67. Dressornamentsinshape of lionheads. Gold.
Iran,Achaemenidperiod,ca. 5th-4th centuryB.C.
H. 17/8in.(4.7 cm.), W.21/4in.(5.7 cm.) and H.
2 in.(4.9 cm.), W.23/8in.(6 cm.) respectively
Giftof KhalilRabenou,1956 (56.154.1,2)
68. Reliefwithservantscarryingfood. Limestone.
SouthernIran,Persepolis,Achaemenidperiod,ca.
4th centuryB.C.H.341/16in.(86.5 cm.), W.251/2
in. (64.8 cm.). HarrisBrisbaneDickFund,1934
(34.158)
Chlorite.SouthernMeso69. Statueof Ur-Ningirsu.
potamia,probablyTello,Neo-Sumerianperiod,ca.
2123-2119 B.C.H.215/8in. (55 cm.). Head:Rogers
Fund,1947 (47.100.86).Body:Lentby Museedu
Louvre,Departementdes AntiquitesOrientales(inv.
A. 0. 9504) (L.1984.1)
70. Cylinderseal and modernimpression.Lapis
lazuli.Mesopotamia,Kish,EarlyAkkadianperiod,
ca. 2334-2278 B.C.H. 11/6 in.(2.8 cm.), Diam.5/8
in. (1.6 cm.). Collectionof Mrs.WilliamH. Moore,
Lentby Rt.Rev.PaulMoore,Jr.(L.55.49.17)
71. Stele of Ushumgal.Alabaster.SouthernMesopotamia,Sumerian,EarlyDynasticI period,2900in.(22.4 cm.). Fundsfromvarious
2750 B.C.H.813/16
donors,1958 (58.29)
72. Inscribedbowl.Gold.Iran,Achaemenidperiod,
ca. 6th-5th centuryB.C.H.41/2in.(11.4 cm.),
Diam.73/4in. (19.6 cm.). HarrisBrisbaneDick
Fund,1954 (54.3.1)
73. Envelopefortablet.Ceramic.Anatolia,Kultepe,
OldAssyrianperiod,ca. 1900 B.C.Gr.h. 71/2in.
(19 cm.), D. 11/8in. (2.8 cm.). Giftof Mr.and Mrs.
J. J. Klejman,1966 (66.245.5b)
ca.
74. Inscribedbell.Bronze.Anatolia,Urartian,
8thcenturyB.C.H.37/16in.(8.7 cm.). Giftof Mr.and
Mrs.NathanielSpear,Jr.,1977 (1977.186)
75. Cylinderseal and modernimpression.Pink
limestone.Mesopotamia,Nippur,InannaTemple,
Nasrperiod,ca.
LevelXVB,LateUruk-Jemdet
3200-2900 B.C.H. 3/4in.(2cm.), Diam.13/16in.
(2.1 cm.). RogersFund,1962 (62.70.74)
76. Cylinderseal and modernimpression.Lapis
lazuli.Mesopotamia,EarlyAkkadianperiod,ca.
2334-2279 B.C.H. 11/2in. (3.8 cm.), Diam.7/8in.
(2.2 cm.). Collectionof Mrs.WilliamH. Moore,Lent
by Rt.Rev.PaulMoore,Jr.(L.55.49.178)
77. Cylinderseal and modernimpression.Amethyst.
Mesopotamia,Isin-Larsaperiod,reignof Rimsin
(1822-1763 B.C.). H. 15/16in. (3.3 cm.), Diam. 1/16in.

(1.7 cm.). Bequestof WalterC. Baker,1971


(1972.118.20)
78. Cylinderseal and modernimpression.Carnelian.
Mesopotamia,MiddleAssyrianperiod,14th-13th
centuryB.C.H. 11/4in. (3.2 cm.), Diam.5/8 in.
(1.1 cm.). Collectionof Mrs.WilliamH.Moore,Lent
by Rt.Rev.PaulMoore,Jr.(L.55.49.90)
79. Cylinderseal and modernimpression.Steatite.
Mesopotamia,Nimrud,NabuTemple,Neo-Assyrian
period,ca. 8th-7th centuryB.C.H. 13/8 in.(3.5 cm.).
Seal h. 15/16in.(2.4 cm.). RogersFund,1958
(57.27.8)
80. Stampseal and modernimpression.Graychalcedony Mesopotamia,Neo-Babylonianperiod,ca.
6th century B.C.L. 7/8 in. (2.2 cm.), W.3/4in. (1.8

cm.). Fundsfromvariousdonors,1893 (93.17.100)

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