Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Gudea, Ensi of Lagash

Figure 1 - Statue of Gudea, Metropolitan Museum
     Gudea was the King of Lagash, and possibly a large amount of territory around that city, somewhere around 2150 - 2125 B. C. He styled himself "Ensi" (Governor) of Lagash.

     There are more than twenty statues of Gudea in the museums of the world, so he certainly seems to have been a major King, but little is actually known about his life. We know that he successfully battled the Elamites and constructed a temple for Ningirsu. He also seems to have repaired or added on to the temples of a number of other gods and goddesses.

Figure 2 - Profile view of the status
     In the photos we see a statue portraying Gudea wearing a toga-like garment and a skull-cap crown. The skull-cap is covered with curls that may indicate that the cap is made of the fur of an animal (a sheep?). The King clasps his hands in front of him; archaeologists think that this shows his devoutness to the gods and goddesses of the region. The King's eye-brows bear a herring-bone decoration and the eyes have a clearly delineated eyelids.

     The lower portion of the "toga" that Gudea is wearing is covered with an inscription dedicated to Ningishzida, the King's personal deity. Ningishzida is a god of the underworld and is thought to be portrayed as a serpent on a libation vase that Gudea dedicated during his reign.

     The statue is made of diorite, which is a very hard stone that was possibly imported from what is now Oman.

Photos Copyright (c) - John Freed, 2013

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