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statue

  • Object type

  • Museum number

    122910

  • Description

    Upper part of standing figure with head; carved and polished mottled green dolerite; but neck restored.

  • Authority

  • Culture/period

  • Date

    • 2130BC (about)
  • Materials

  • Technique

  • Dimensions

    • Height: 78 centimetres
    • Width: 50 centimetres
    • Depth: 31 centimetres
    • Weight: 150 kilograms (excluding base)
  • Curator's comments

    It is possible that the head and body were not originally part of a single statue. It was described by H.R. Hall in the 'British Museum Quarterly' VI/2 (1931) page 31, at the time of acquisition, as being of "a dolerite of mottled green colour." Prior to its cleaning for re-exhibition in the Early Mesopotamian Gallery in 1991 it had assumed a distinctly black appearance, perhaps as a result of waxing in the 1930s. In a letter to Miss Bimson (Scientific Research) of 10th October 1974, A C Bishop (British Museum Natural History) identified the stone as a quartz dolerite. R H Wilenski, in his book 'The Meaning of Modern Sculpture' (Faber, 1932) pp 134-135, says, "Mr. Burney employed the sculptor Leon Underwood to model a neck in plaster, and the figure thus provisionally restored was studied by a number of modern sculptors in Mr. Burney's gallery. Later, the British Museum bought the statue with the aid of a contribution from the National Art Collections Fund. The Museum authorities have re-restored it with a diffferent neck and a wooden stand suggesting a full-length figure to resemble the full length so-called Portrait of Gudea in the Louvre." The statue remained on that stand until 1991. Cyril Bateman, Conservation Officer in the Department of Western Asiatic Antiquities until 1975, who came to the Museum in 1935, told us in January 2002 that he had no memory of any restoration of the statue during his time in the Museum. It therefore seems probable that the blackening of the statue was undertaken at the same time as its re-restoration in 1931-1932. The photographs in British Museum Quarterly 6 presumably show the statue as reconstructed by Leon Underwood in 1930.

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  • Bibliography

    • Smith S 1931b bibliographic details
    • Reade 2002c bibliographic details
    • Verdi R 2003a cat. 40, p. 114 bibliographic details
    • Parrot 1948a p.168, pl. XVId bibliographic details
    • Frankfort H 1954a pl. 47 bibliographic details
    • Mallowan 1939a pl. III bibliographic details
    • Barnett & Wiseman 1960a pp.36-37, no.16 bibliographic details
    • Edzard, RIME 3/1 RIM.E.3/1.1.7.StV bibliographic details
  • Location

    On display: G56/od

  • Exhibition history

    Exhibited:
    2011, 22 Jan-10 Apr, London, Royal Academy of Arts, 'Modern British Sculpture'
    2003/4 Oct-Jan, London, Hayward Gallery, 'Saved!100 Years of the National Art Collections Fund', no.40.
    1991- BM, G56/Early Mesopotamia, ex-case

  • Condition

    Fair; head and body joined; fill toned in 2010

  • Associated names

  • Acquisition name

  • Acquisition date

    1931

  • Acquisition notes

    Deposited on 14 July 1931 when the head was detached; reported to Trustees 4 July 1931 [CHECK]; see also I E Gejou's letter of 21 June 1930

  • Department

    Middle East

  • BM/Big number

    122910

  • Registration number

    1931,0711.1

  • Additional IDs

    • 0778 (NACF art review number)
Upper part of standing figure with head; neck restored; it is possible that the head and body were not originally part of a single statue; mottled green dolerite; statue of Gudea, king of Lagash.

3/4: Right

Upper part of standing figure with head; neck restored; it is possible that the head and body were not originally part of a single statue; mottled green dolerite; statue of Gudea, king of Lagash.

Image description

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