Sumerian Stone Eye Idol Temple Stele

 

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.
Height: 5 1/8 in. (13 cm).
Intact.
Accompanied by a stone analysis by CIRAM laboratory confirming its age.

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.

The Uruk period (ca. 4000 to 3000 BC) existed from the proto-historic Chalcolithic to the Early Bronze Age, it is named after the Sumerian city of Uruk. The period saw the emergence of urban life and agriculture in Mesopotamia and was the formative phase of Sumerian civilization.

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.

Inv#: 6935

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