Stone mace head

Kingdom of Lagash, about 2400-2300 BC
Possibly from Tello (ancient Girsu), southern Iraq

Symbolic weapon deposited in a temple on behalf of a king

Mesopotamian gods are shown brandishing maces in ancient carvings. However, this one is too large to have been attached to a staff and used in battle. The cuneiform inscription makes it clear that it was dedicated in a temple by a man called Barakisumun: 'For Ningirsu of Eninnu, the workman of Enannatum, ruler of Lagash, Barakisumun, the emissary, dedicated this for the life of his master.'

Objects were often dedicated in temples by people wishing to receive divine blessings. Ningirsu ('Lord of Girsu') was the patron deity of the kingdom of Lagash in which Girsu was an important city. Ningirsu is often associated with Imdugud, a lion-headed eagle, but here an ordinary eagle grasps two lions. Ningirsu's temple is called Eninnu, 'House of the Fifty'. Fifty is frequently used in Mesopotamia simply to indicate a large number.

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More information


J.S. Cooper, Sumerian and Akkadian royal in (New Haven: The American Oriental Society, 1986)


Museum number

ME 23287



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