Saturday, October 31, 2009

Gudea and Son

Gudea was an Ensi, or ruler, of Lagash during the Neo-Sumerian Period (circa 2150 - 2100 B. C.).

Gudea is known to have built, or re-built, at least fifteen temples in Lagash. Two large clay cylinders have been found, which describe the work associated with re-building the temple of Ningirsu. Gudea claims to have brought craftsman from many distant lands and used the highest quality materials in his attempt to please Ningirsu. These texts also detail the elaborate religious rituals conducted before, during and after the re-building of Ningirsu's temple.

Numerous statues of Gudea have survived. Three of them (all currently in the Metropolitan Museum) are shown here.

All of these statues show Gudea with his hands clasped in front of him in a sign of piety. These statues were no doubt placed in the temples of Lagash as a reminder to the gods and goddesses of Gudea's great love for them. The seated statue shown here, bears an inscription listing the temples that Gudea built or restored during his lifetime.

Two of the statues shown here portray Gudea wearing a wool cap, while the third shows the Ensi with a bald head. These statues were carved from diorite, which is a very hard, and difficult to work with, stone.

A very different statue of Ur-Ningirsu, the son of Gudea is also shown here. While Gudea is portrayed as clean shaven, his shown is shown with a long beard. He too is shown with his hands clasped in front of him. This statue is carved from chlorite and was most likely originally set up in one of the many temples in Lagash.

(All photos copyright John Freed. Feel free to use them, but please give credit to this site).

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