- Museum number
- Series: The Blau Monuments
Green schist tablet; one of a pair; inscription; two figures on one side and four on the other. Though not fully understood, this pair of tablets seems to record a transaction in which land was exchanged for various goods, with the carved figures representing the individuals involved.
- Production date
Length: 16.03 centimetres
Width: 7.62 centimetres
- Curator's comments
Pair with 1899,0418.3 (BM.86261). The object was sent for moulding in the Cast Shop between 22 June and 26 August 1964 (WAA, 'Objects to Lab' book).
The 'Blau monuments' (comment relating to registration no. 1899,0418.2-3)
When these stone objects were presented to the British Museum in 1899 nothing like them was known and they were dismissed as 'two forgeries purporting to be Babylonian inscriptions'. As late as 1922 the Museum Guide hinted that there might be doubts as to their authenticity, but subsequent excavations in southern Mesopotamia have produced parallels which show them to be genuine early Sumerian objects with a date of around 2900 BC and among the earliest examples of the developing cuneiform script, still mainly pictographic. The two pieces appear to belong together and, as far as they can be read, seem to be a legal document recording the sale of a field and the details of the transaction.
Their provenance is unknown, and they are called after an earlier owner, a Dr A. Blau, who lived for some time in southern Mesopotamia.
Literature: M. E. L. Mallowan, 'Early Mesopotamia and Iran', London 1965, pp. 65-7.
- Not on display
- Exhibition history
2013-2014 3 Nov-21 Apr, Herne, LWL Museum fur Archaologie, 'Uruk: 5000 Years of the Megacity'
2013 25 Apr-8 Sep, Berlin, Vorderasiatisches Museum, 'Uruk: 5000 Years of the Megacity'
2003 5 May-17 Aug, New York, Metropolitan Museum of Art, 'Art of the First Cities'
2000 14 May-29 Oct, Germany, Berlin, Martin-Gropius-Bau, Seven Hills – Images and Signs of the 21st Century
Babylonian & Assyrian Room, Table-Case D (1900 Guide)
- Acquisition date
- Acquisition notes
- 1900 Guide states that these were presented by W Talbot Ready.
- Middle East
- BM/Big number
- Registration number