Collection online


  • Object type

  • Museum number


  • Description

    Lower half of stone seated figure presumed to be that of Gudea, king of Lagash; carved and polished.

  • Authority

  • Culture/period

  • Findspot

  • Materials

  • Technique

  • Dimensions

    • Weight: 300 kilograms (including base)
    • Weight: 250 kilograms (without base)
    • Width: 48.26 centimetres
    • Length: 71.12 centimetres
  • Curator's comments

    This statue is mentioned by Sir Robert Ker Porter (1821/22, 'Travels in Georgia' etc, vol. II, pp. 407-408) along with the lion at Babylon as "the only large vestiges of sculpture that I have been able to trace" and continues by describing it as "a large fragment of a figure, which the same / gentleman [i.e. Rich] saw lying in the desert about midway between Hillah and the site of Seleucia. It consisted of the lower half of the statue of a man in a sitting posture; the legs were naked, and closed together in the Egyptian style; the hands rested on the thighs. It was cut in a bluish basalt". It was also described thus by James Silk Buckingham (1827, 'Travels in Mesopotamia'): "I should have gone across from hence [Taq-i Kisra near Ctesiphon] by one of these boats, to the site of Seleucia [i.e. the city of Veh Ardashir which was then mistaken for Seleucia], had I not been previously assured by Mr. Rich that there was nothing there to reward the search. A Babylonian statue was seen by him [Rich] far in the Desert, on that side; but it required a person to know the exact spot on which it lay, to give any hope of finding it again". This statue was first illustrated by George Keppel (1827, 'Personal narrative of a journey from India to England ... in the year' 1824) who saw it 'in situ' on the surface of a site some 5 miles from "Seleucia" on 20th March 1824 and who commented that "the entire figure appears to consist of a block of compact granite, of great tenacity, as we found on making an unsuccessful attempt to break off a small portion from the fractured part". The statue appears to have been removed from the site by Layard who in turn presented it to the Corporation of the City of London.


  • Bibliography

    • Buckingham 1827a p. 530 bibliographic details
    • Keppel 1827a pp 66-68, illustrated on p. 67 bibliographic details
  • Location

    On display: G56/od

  • Condition


  • Associated names

  • Acquisition name

  • Acquisition date


  • Acquisition notes

    Apparently discovered by Claudius Rich, mentioned by Sir Robert Ker Porter and James Silk Buckingham, first recorded 'in situ' by George Keppel; removed by Layard who presented it to the Corporation of the City of London, who subsequently presented it to the British Museum in 1903.

  • Department

    Middle East

  • BM/Big number


  • Registration number


Lower half of stone seated figure presumed to be that of Gudea, king of Lagash.

Lower half of stone seated figure presumed to be that of Gudea, king of Lagash.

Image description



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Object reference number: WCO24384

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