A large Mesopotamian Clay Brick for Ningirsu, Mighty Warrior of Enlil, Ur III, ca. 2112 – 2095 BCE


$8,500 USD

Blockprint in blind in Sumerian on clay with an inscription from a temple in the Sumerian city-state of Lagas, which was built by the most famous ruler Gudea for the god Ningirsu. The almost completely preserved inscription translates as “For (the god) Ningirsu, the mighty hero (the god) Enlil, Gudea, ruler of Lagas did everything admirably, he built a temple of the shining Imdugud bird (lion eagle) for him, he has it restored. ”Clay tiles like this one were built into the corners of the temple's foundations. cf: Andrew George, ed.: Cuneiform Royal Inscriptions and Related Texts in the Schøyen Collection, Cornell University Studies in Assyriology and Sumerology, vol. 17, Manuscripts in the Schøyen Collection, Cuneiform texts VI. CDL Press, Bethesda, MD, 2011, texts 29-30, p. 52, pl. XXV.

Background:  Gudea, prince of the independent kingdom of Lagash in the late 3rd millennium, is known for his piety and prolific building of temples. Following the fall of the Akkadian empire, the cities of southern Mesopotamia founded independent dynasties: Gudea succeeded his father-in-law Ur-Ba'u, founder of the second dynasty of Lagash. He devoted himself to building temples to the most important gods of Girsu: Ningirsu and Nanshe, Ningishzida, and Geshtinanna. The statuary of his reign, consisting mainly in representations of himself, is a reflection of his piety, in contrast with the bellicose themes of art of the Akkadian period. 

Dimensions: 30 x 31 x 7 cm (11.8 x 12.2 x 2.7 inches)

Condition: Top left corner missing that does not impact the text, wear to the stamping but overall in very good condition.   Accompanied by a museum-quality custom mount.

Provenance: A. C. private collection, Virginia, acquired in the late 1960s and in family ownership since then.