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Statues of Gudea

Feb - 28 - 2013

So far twenty-seven statues of Gudea, a ruler  of the state of Lagash in Southern Mesopotamia who ruled ca. 2144 – 2124 BC, have been found, and numbered A-AA. A-K were found during Ernest de Sarzec’s excavations in the court of the palace of Adad-nadin-ahhe in Telloh . Statues M-Q come from clandestine excavations in Telloh in 1924; the rest come from the art trade, with unknown provenances and sometimes of doubtful authenticity. Figures L and R do not represent Gudea with reasonable certainty. The statues were to represent the ruler in temples, to offer a constant prayer in his stead; offerings were made to these. Most of the statues bear an inscribed dedication explaining to which god it was dedicated. Gudea is either sitting or standing; in one case , he holds a water-jug au vase jaillissant. He normally wears a close fitting kaunakes, maybe made of sheep-skin, and a long tasseled dress. Only in one example  he wears a different dress,
reminiscent of the Akkadian royal costume (torso of Manishtushu). On the lap of one of them  is the plan of his palace, with the scale of measurement attached. Statue F is similar to statue B; both are missing their heads, and have on their lap a board with a measuring scale and a stylus, only statue F doesn’t have a ground plan.
It seems that the early statues are small and made of more local stones; later, when wide-ranging trade-connections had been established, the more costly exotic diorite was used. Diorite had already been used by old Sumerian rulers. According to the inscriptions, the diorite (or gabbro, na4esi) came from Magan.
The dedication of the diorite statues normally tell how ensi Gudea had diorite brought from the mountains of Magan, formed it as a statue of himself, called by name to honour god/goddess (x) and had the statue brought into the temple of . Most of the big (almost lifesize, D is even bigger than life) statues are dedicated to the top gods of Lagash: Ningirsu, his wife Ba’u, the goddesses Gatumdu and Inanna and Ninhursanga as the “Mother of the gods”. Q is dedicated to Ningiszida, Gudea’s personal protective deity more properly connected to Fara and Abu Salabikh, the smaller M, N and O to his “wife” Gestinanna. The connection between Ningiszida and Gestinanna was probably invented by Gudea in order to effect a closer connection to Lagash.

Gudéa, prince de Lagash, au vase jaillissant
gudea prince de lagash au vase jaillissantThis artwork is the officially approved image from Paris’s Musée du Louvre as part of the French Museum Collection (RMN). This collection, representing artwork from over 400 top European museums and private sources, honors the very best of the world’s curated original art by making these works available for the first time as museum-approved, high-quality giclee prints and canvas reproductions that can be personalized to suit any decorating style and vision.

This fine art Giclee on canvas print has been museum-wrapped around 1.5” wood stretcher bars, and finished with handpainted black edges.
Resources on the Internet
Resources on the Internet 2
The source of the English-language Wikipedia &

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