- Museum number
Limestone statue of woman; carved; standing position with hands clasped over breast and smile on the lips.
- Production date
Height: 34 centimetres (with base)
Height: 30 centimetres
Width: 15.80 centimetres
Depth: 13.50 centimetres
- Curator's comments
"Treasures of the World's Cultures: The British Museum after 250 Years" catalogue entry
Statue of a woman
Southern Iraq, Kingdom of Lagash, Sumerian, about 2500 BC
From Telloh (ancient Girsu)
D Collon, Ancient Near Eastern art (London, The British Museum Press, 1995), p. 62, fig. 44
British Museum, A guide to the Babylonian and Assyrian antiquities, 3rd ed. (London, British Museum, 1922), p. 89
This is a typical figure which was set up in temples to represent their donor in prayer before the gods. They appear in different forms, both male and female, and depict a variety of hair styles and costumes. It is not known whether they reflect any likeness of the donor, but they usually have stylized features, especially very large eyes. The hands are nearly always clasped in front of their chest, perhaps in a gesture of reverence. They were often buried in the structure of the building, perhaps after the sanctuary had become too crowded, or the donor had died.
This figure comes from the city of Telloh (ancient Girsu) in southern Iraq, which was part of the kingdom of Lagash. The site was among the earliest Sumerian cities to be explored in the nineteenth century. Many temple buildings were found and their associated monuments were recovered. In addition, inscriptions from this site and elsewhere have enabled a list of the rulers of Lagash to be reconstructed.
Object was sent to Cast workshop for moulding between 14 July and 22 September 1955 (WAA Transfers Book). The cast is listed as available in the British Museum Facsimile Service 'Catalogue of Replicas from British Museum collections' (n.d.), in the series "Monuments of Early Kings".
- Not on display
- Exhibition history
2020 7-18 Mar and 1 Sep-1 Nov, Newcastle upon Tyne, Great North Museum: Hancock, Ancient Iraq
2017 'Living with Gods', SEG The British Museum
2013-2014 22 Jun-6 Jan, Toronto, Royal Ontario Museum,'Mesopotamia, Inventing Our World'
2013 30 Jan-13 May, Museum of History, Hong Kong, 'The Wonders of Ancient Mesopotamia'
2012 4 May-7 Oct, Melbourne Museum, 'The Wonders of Ancient Mesopotamia'
2009-2010 11 Dec-10 May, Madrid, Canal de Isabel II, Treasures of the World’s Cultures
2009 1 May-20 Sep, Victoria, Royal BC Museum, Treasures of the World's Cultures
2007 14 Sep-2 Dec, Hong Kong Museum of Art, Treasures of the World's Cultures
2007 3 Feb-27 May, Taipei, National Palace Museum, Treasures of the World's Cultures
2006 18 Mar-4 Jun, Beijing, Capital Museum, Treasures of the World's Cultures
2005 27 Oct-2006 31 Jan, Haengso Museum, Keimyung University, Daegu, Treasures of the World's Cultures
2005 25 Jul-8 Oct, Busan Museum, Treasures of the World's Cultures
2005 11 Apr-10 Jul, Seoul Arts Centre, Treasures of the World's Cultures
2004 26 Jun-29 Aug, Niigata Bandaijima Art Museum, Treasures of the World's Cultures
2004 10 Apr-13 Jun, Fukuoka Art Museum, Treasures of the World's Cultures
2004 17 Jan-28 Mar, Kobe City Museum, Treasures of the World's Cultures
2003 18 Oct-14 Dec, Tokyo Metropolitan Art Museum, Treasures of the World's Cultures
2003 5 May-17 Aug, New York, Metropolitan Museum of Art, 'Art of the First Cities'
BM, Babylonian Room, table-case C
- Acquisition date
- Acquisition notes
- The numbering in the 90000 series confirms its acquisition in the 19th century. King attributes his photograph to the Mansell Collection, which also confirms a 19th century acquisition date.
- Middle East
- BM/Big number
- Registration number
- Additional IDs
Other BM number: 12058 (old registration number)