Stone statue of a man

From Mesopotamia
Early Dynastic Period, about 2600-2500 BC

A figure probably left as a votive donation in a temple

Figures of men and women were set up in temples to symbolically represent their donor in prayer before the gods. Different forms show a variety of hair styles and costumes. It is not known whether they actually reflect the appearance of the donor, but they usually have typically stylized features, and sometimes very large eyes. The hands are nearly always clasped in front of their chest, perhaps in a gesture of reverence.

The origin of this broken statue was not known when it was acquired by the Museum in 1854. However, it was probably deposited in a temple as a votive offering.

As with many figures of this type, there is an inscription in cuneiform on the right shoulder, but in this case it has not yet been possible to decipher it. The statue seems to have been lost and then re-discovered one or two thousand years after it was made, since it has some doodles on the back in cuneiform written at a much later date.

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More information


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

H.W.F. Saggs, Babylonians (London, The British Museum Press, 1995)


Height: 14.600 cm
Width: 12.700 cm

Museum number

ME 91667 (1854.4-1.31)



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