Sumerian Stone Eye Idol Temple Stele
An ancient Sumerian steatite stele, carved on each side with two schematic temple facade structures surmounted by pairs of large almond-shaped eyes, between them are five concentric circles, the outer two open at the top, bands and wave patterns above and below.
Late Uruk Period. Ca. 3500 - 3000 BC.
Votive stelae are known from the earliest periods of Mesopotamian art. Eyes figure prominently in the iconography of ancient Mesopotamia, as in the Eye Idols of Tel Brak and other sites. Images of temples, as on the Michaux Stele in the Bibliothèque nationale de France, are sometimes found. However, images depicting Eye Temples themselves are exceedingly rare.
Cf. Similar iconography on eye idols excavated at Tel Brak in the Metropolitan Museum of Art, inv. nos. 51.59.7 and 51.59.1, and the British Museum, inv. no. 1939,0208.94, as well as on Babylonian kudurrus (boundary stones) in the British Museum, inv. nos. 1907,1014.1 and 1882,0522.1799, and in the Louvre, inv. no. Sb 22.
Formerly in the Jens Rid collection, Germany, 1960s.
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