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Ancient Near Eastern Art. Ancient Near Eastern Art Table of contents. Sumerian Art. Assyrian Art. Akkadian Art. Neo-Babylonian Art. Achaemenid Persian Art. Neo-Sumerian Art. Sasanian Art. Babylonian Art. Elamite Art.

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Ancient Near Eastern Art


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slide2

Ancient Near Eastern Art

Table of contents

Sumerian Art

Assyrian Art

AkkadianArt

Neo-Babylonian Art

Achaemenid Persian Art

Neo-Sumerian Art

SasanianArt

Babylonian Art

ElamiteArt

slide3

It known as the "Fertile Crescent“ because humans first learned how to use the wheel and the plow, how to control floods, and how to construct irrigation canals in settlements here.

The land known as Mesopotamia lay between the Tigris and the Euphrates rivers.

slide4

Sumerian Art

Vocabulary

City-state

Independent cities that were each under the protection of a different deity, represented by the rulers. Rulers and priests directed all communal activities, which were institutionalized.

Cuneiform

The beginning of writing, taking the form of wedge-shaped signs, simplified from pictograph signs (simplified pictures).

Cylinder seal

A cylindrical piece of stone engraved to produce a raised impression when rolled over clay. Used to “sign” and seal documents.

Gilgamesh

An epic from the 3rd millennium BCE describing Gilgamesh, the legendary kind of Uruk and slayer of the monster Huwawa.

Heraldic composition

A composition that is symmetrical on either side of a central figure.

slide6

White Temple and ziggurat

Uruk (modern Warka) Iraq

ca. 3,200-3,000 B.C.E.

mud brick

slide7

Sumerian city plans reflected their religious beliefs in that at the city’s nucleus was the god’s temple, not only the focus of local religious practice but also an administrative and economic center. Gods were holders of lands and herds and protected the city-state.

White Temple and ziggurat

Uruk (modern Warka) Iraq

ca. 3,200-3,000 B.C.E.

mud brick

slide8

Ziggurat

Material used to construct the ziggurat was mud bricks.

  • The ziggurat was oriented to the cardinal points of the compass.
  • The "bent-axis" approach meant the stairway leading to the top did not lead directly to the temple but made several turns.
slide9

When the female head from Uruk when it was seen by the Sumerians it may have had colored shell or stone in the eyes, with a wig and metal hair, and clothed in fabrics and jewels.

Female head (possibly Inanna)

from Uruk (modern Warka) Iraq

ca. 3,200-3,000 B.C.E.

marble

approximately 8 in. high

slide10

The Warka vase is the first known example of narrative relief sculpture.

It depicts a religious festival in honor of the goddess Inanna.

Warka Vase

from Uruk (modern Warka) Iraq

ca. 3,200-3,000 B.C.E.

alabaster

approximately 3 ft. high

slide11

Warka Vase

from Uruk (modern Warka) Iraq

ca. 3,200-3,000 B.C.E.

alabaster

approximately 3 ft. high

slide13

Cones and cylinders were underlying forms used to create the votive statues

  • The oversized eyes represented eternal wakefulness, necessary to fulfill the duty of offering prayers.
  • The hands gestures represented prayer.

Statuettes of worhippers

from Eshnunna (modern Tell Asmar) Iraq

ca. 2,700 B.C.E.

gypsum, shell, black limestone

tallest 30 in. high

slide14

Statuettes of worhippers

from Eshnunna (modern Tell Asmar) Iraq

ca. 2,700 B.C.E.

gypsum, shell, black limestone

tallest 30 in. high

slide15

Statuettes of worhippers

from Eshnunna (modern Tell Asmar) Iraq

ca. 2,700 B.CE.

gypsum, shell, black limestone

tallest 30 in. high

slide18

One of the figures on the Stele of the Vultures is much taller than the others. This may indicate that he is the general and therefore of greater status.

Stele of vulturesEarly Dynastic III (2600-2330 BC)Telloh (ancient Girsu), IraqLimestoneH. 1.8 m; L. 1.3 m; Th. 0.11 m

slide20

Subject

War

Chariots defeat enemies, who are led away by soldiers and brought to the king.

Peace

Men carry provisions and animals to a banquet or religious ritual, which is presided over by another king.

  • Style
  • People are all shown in profile, animals in rows almost blend into each other because they are so similar, and more important figures are of a larger size.

Standard of Ur

from Tomb 779, Royal Cemetery Ur (modern Tell Muqayyar) Iraq

ca. 2,600 B.C.E.

wood, shell, lapis lazuli, red limestone

approximately 8 x 19 in.

slide21

Are the figures depicted according to "conceptual" or "optical" principles?

The figures are Conceptual­—all parts of the figures are seen at once. They are not individualized but are “types.”

Standard of Ur (war side)

from Tomb 779, Royal Cemetery Ur (modern Tell Muqayyar) Iraq

ca. 2,600 B.C.E.

wood, shell, lapis lazuli, red limestone

approximately 8 x 19 in.

slide22

Standard of Ur (peace side)

from Tomb 779, Royal Cemetery Ur (modern Tell Muqayyar) Iraq

ca. 2,600 B.C.E.

wood, shell, lapis lazuli, red limestone

approximately 8 x 19 in.

slide24

Bull-headed lyre

from Tomb 789, Royal Cemetery Ur (modern Tell Muqayyar)

ca. 2,600 B.C.E.

wood, gold leaf, lapis lazuli

approximately 65 in. high

slide25

The meaning of the animals represented on the Harp from Ur may represent the land of the dead.

Bull-headed lyre

from Tomb 789, Royal Cemetery Ur (modern Tell Muqayyar)

ca. 2,600 B.C.E.

wood, gold leaf, lapis lazuli

approximately 65 in. high

slide26

Ram in a thicket

from Tomb 789, Royal Cemetery Ur (modern Tell Muqayyar) Iraq

ca. 2,600 B.C.E.

gold, silver, lapis lazuli, copper, shell, red limestone, bitumen

42.6 cm. high

slide27

Ram in a thicket

from Tomb 789, Royal Cemetery Ur (modern Tell Muqayyar) Iraq

ca. 2,600 B.C.E.

gold, silver, lapis lazuli, copper, shell, red limestone, bitumen

42.6 cm. high

slide28

Cylinder seal

A cylindrical piece of stone engraved to produce a raised impression when rolled over clay. Used to “sign” and seal documents.

Cylinder seals

ca. 2,600-2,000 B.C.E.

approximately 2 in. high

slide29

Cylinder sealfrom the tomb of Pu-abi Royal Cemetery Ur (modern Tell Muqayyar) Iraqca. 2,600 B.C.E.

approximately 2 in. high

slide30

AkkadianArt

Gudea of Lagash

  • Ensi of Lagash c. 2100 BCE. Preferred statuettes to regal trappings, and also liked statues carved of him in diorite.

Hammurabi

  • King of Babylon from c. 1792-1750 BCE. He established a central government over south Mesopotamia. He is most famous for his code of laws, which he had inscribed on a black basalt stele.

Sargon II

  • Assyrian king, who started the building of a royal citadel at DurSharrukin that covered 25 acres.
slide32

A new political idea was introduced by the Akkadians, loyalty to the king instead of to the city.

  • They created the earliest portraits as life-size hollow cast sculptures.

Head of an Akkadian ruler

from Ninevah (modern Kuyunjik) Iraq

ca. 2,250-2,200 B.C.E.

copper

14 3/8 in. high

slide33

Naturalism

The shape of the nose

Different textures of hair and flesh

Contrasting textures of beard, mustache, and hair.

Abstract patterning

Patterns in hair

Stylistic symmetry

Formal patterns of lozenges and triangles

slide34

Two features of the Stele of Naram Sin that indicate his super-human status.

He is larger than other figures.

He is wearing the horned helmet of divinity.

Victory stele of Naram-Sin

from Susa, Iran

ca. 2,254-2,218 B.C.E.

sandstone

79 in. high

slide35

Victory stele of Naram-Sin

from Susa, Iran

ca. 2,254-2,218 B.C.E.

sandstone

79 in. high

slide38

Ziggurat

at Ur (modern Tell Muqayyar) Iraq

ca. 2,100 B.C.E.

mud brick

slide39

Ziggurat (restored)

at Ur (modern Tell Muqayyar) Iraq

ca. 2,100 B.C.E.

mud brick

slide41

Seated statue of Gudea holding temple plan

from Girsu (modern Telloh) Iraq

ca. 2,100 B.C.E.

diorite

29 in. high

slide45

Significance of the Stele of Hammurabi

Politically:

It is the only code of laws from that era known in great detail.

Aesthetically

The god’s beard is foreshortened with diagonal lines instead of horizontal lines, suggesting recession into space.

The headdress is shown in true profile with only fourhorns showing instead of all eight.

Stele with code of Hammurabi

from Susa, Iran

ca. 1,780 B.C.E.

basalt

88 in. high

slide46

Stele with code of Hammurabi

from Susa, Iran

ca. 1,780 B.C.E.

basalt

88 in. high

slide47

The investiture of Zimri-Lim by the goddess Ishtar is depicted in the painting from the palace of Mari

Mural paintingThe Investiture of Zimri-LimEarly 2nd millennium BCMari (Syria), Amorite palaceMural painting on white plasterH 1.75 m; W. 2.50 m

slide48

The Hittites were an Anatolian people who conquered Babylon c. 1595 BCE, then left and left it to the Kassites.

Lions were an early theme used in many other Near Eastern gates.

slide49

ElamiteArt

citadel

A city walled for defense.

slide51

Three Mesopotamian stylistic conventions found in the Elamite statue of Queen Napir-Asu

  • The votive shape, a cylinder with a tight silhouette.
  • Strict frontality.
  • Strictly crossed hands.

Statue of Queen Napir-Asu

from Susa, Iran

ca. 1,350-1,300 B.C.E.

bronze and copper

50 3/4 in. high

slide52

Statue of Queen Napir-Asu

from Susa, Iran

ca. 1,350-1,300 B.C.E.

bronze and copper

50 3/4 in. high

slide55

The Assyrians favored regularity, symmetry, hard angles and strict geometry. The temple is central. The land was probably flat.

Reconstruction drawing

of the citadel of Sargon II, Dar Sharrukin (modern Khorsabad) Iraq

ca. 720-705 B.C.E.

slide56

Things to consider:

The citadel does not twist and turn, suggesting it covers a large flat area, and was not built on mountainous terrain.

The citadel was probably under the construction of a single person--it does not sprawl or have varied architecture.

  • The ziggurat is a feature that would indicate that it was constructed in Mesopotamia.
slide57

The doorway of the citadel of Sargon II was guarded by figures known as Lamassu, which were winged, human-headed bulls.

The Lamassu was portrayed with five legs making it conceptual rather than an optical presentation that shows the complete picture of all parts of the animal from different angles.

Lamassu (winged human headed bull)

from the citadel of Sargon II, Dar Sharrukin (modern Khorsabad) Iraq

ca. 720-705 B.C.E.

limestone

13 ft. 10 in. high

slide60

Gilgamesh? Wrestling Lion

from the citadel of Sargon II, Dar Sharrukin

ca. 720-705 B.C.E.

limestone

13 ft. 10 in. high

slide62

Assyrian archers pursuing enemies

from the Northwest Palace of Ashurnasirpal II, Kalhu (modern Nimrud)

ca. 875-860 B.C.E.

gypsum

2 ft. 10 3/8 in. high

slide64

Assyrian reliefsmost commonly portrayed

military victories and the slayings of wild animals.

Ashurbanipal hunting lions

from the North Palace of Ashurbanipal, Ninevah (modern Kuyunjik) Iraq

ca. 645-640 B.C.E.

gypsum

approximately 5 ft. high

slide65

Ashurbanipal hunting lions

from the North Palace of Ashurbanipal, Ninevah (modern Kuyunjik) Iraq

ca. 645-640 B.C.E.

gypsum

approximately 5 ft. high

slide66

Ashurbanipal hunting lions

from the North Palace of Ashurbanipal, Ninevah (modern Kuyunjik) Iraq

ca. 645-640 B.C.E.

gypsum

approximately 5 ft. high

slide67

Neo-Babylonian Art

Achaemenids

The dynasty founded by Cyrus of Persia, he traced his ancestry back to a mythical king Achaemenes. They conquered Babylon and Egypt and became the largest empire to date. The dynasty ended with the death of Darius III, killed by Alexander the Great.

Barrel vault

A deep arch over an oblong space.

Iwan

A brick audience hall in a Near Eastern palace.

Repousée

A technique of hammering a single sheet of metal and pushing features out from behind.

Sasanians

In the 3rd century CE a Persian power that challenged the Romans. They traced their lineage to Sasan, a direct descendant of Assyrian kings. They ruled until the Arabs took over in 636 CE.

slide69

One of the seven wonders of the ancient world created by Nebuchadnezzar were the walls of Babylon that surrounded the city.

slide70

The Ishtar Gate built in Babylon was created of mud bricks and covered with blue glaze.

Ishtar Gate (restored)

from Babylon, Iraq

ca. 575 B.C.E.

glazed brick

slide71

Motifs were used to decorate it included Marduk’s Dragons, Adad’s bulls, Ishtar’s sacred lions.

Ishtar Gate (restored)details of dragon (Marduk) and bull (Adad)

from Babylon, Iraq

ca. 575 B.C.E.

glazed brick

slide72

Ishtar Gate (restored)details of lion (Ishtar)

from Babylon, Iraq

ca. 575 B.C.E.

glazed brick

slide76

Palace of Darius I and Xerxes I

Persepolis, Iran

ca. 521-465 B.C.E.

slide77

Darius' palace

Persepolis, Iran

ca. 521-465 B.C.E.

Architectural features of the palace include;

A monumental gateway with man-headed bulls

A apadana - huge royal audience hall.

Reliefs

Columns

The great palace at Persepolis was erected to symbolize Persian imperial power. The architects created a powerful synthesis of architectural and sculptural elements drawn from Assyrian, Persian, Greek, Medes, andBabylonian. cultures

slide78

Palace of Darius I and Xerxes I

Persepolis, Iran

ca. 521-465 B.C.E.

slide79

Palace of Darius I and Xerxes I

Persepolis, Iran

ca. 521-465 B.C.E.

slide82

Palace of Shapur I

from Ctesiphon, Iraq

ca. 250 C.E.

slide83

Palace of Shapur I

from Ctesiphon, Iraq

ca. 250 C.E.

slide85

The defeat of the Roman Emperor Valerian by the Sasanian ruler Shapur was represented in a series of rock-cut reliefs in the cliffs of Bishapur, Iran.

Triumph of Shapur I over Valerian

from Bishapur, Iraq

ca. 260 C.E.

rock-cut relief

slide86

Triumph of Shapur I over Valerian

from Bishapur, Iraq

ca. 260 C.E.

rock-cut relief

slide87

Shapur I drachim

ca. 260 C.E.

cast silver coins

slide88

Repousée

  • A technique of hammering a single sheet of metal and pushing features out from behind.

Head of Sasanian King (Shapur II?)

from Ctesiphon, Iraq

ca. 350 C.E.

silver with mercury gilding

15 3/4 in. high