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Stone head of a woman


Height: 3.250 inches
Width: 2.370 inches

ANE 118564;ME

Room 56: Mesopotamia

    Stone head of a woman

    Third Dynasty of Ur, about 2150-2000 BC
    From Ur, southern Iraq

    From the residence of the priestess of the goddess Nanna

    This head was probably part of a votive statue, set up in a temple to symbolically pray on behalf of the donor. The left eye and forehead is damaged. The hair is held in a bun behind a wide headband. Changing fashions in hair styles can often be detected based on figures such as this one.

    It was discovered by the excavator Leonard Woolley at Ur in the ruins of the Gipar-ku, in Ur. A gipar was the official residence of the En-priest or priestess and the administrative centre of their households. The gipar at Ur was located next to the main temple enclosure of the moon-god Nanna. It was divided into two sections: the residence of the priestess and her household, including a cemetery of former priestesses, and her personal temple to Ningal, the wife of Nanna.

    The building was one of several in the centre of Ur devoted to the cult of Nanna, including the solid mud brick stepped tower or ziggurat. These were first constructed by King Ur-Nammu (2112-2095 BC) in the period to which this statue dates.

    C.L. Woolley, Ur Excavations, vol. IV: The e (London, Trustees of the British Museum, 1955)

    J.E. Reade, Mesopotamia (London, The British Museum Press, 1991)


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    On display: Room 56: Mesopotamia

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