010 Male Head - SUMER

010 Male Head - SUMER

H: 2.95 cm. Thickness: 1.12 cm
Provenance: no indication
Early Dynastic III. c. 2600-2340 B.C.

Ex collection: Professor and Marie-Louise Erlenmeyer

Condition: broken on a slant through the lower neck and the middle of a round drilled hole which probably held a peg that helped fix the figure to its background. The lower right side of nose abraded, eyebrow, eye and upper part of nose slightly flaked. The odd little nick and a few small pits on the surface.

The present head fits the "smiling style", the softening of forms and most especially the shaved head and sculpted eyes, characteristics ascribed to the Early Dynastic III period by A. Spycket [1]. It comes from a narrative composition of the type illustrated on the Standard of Ur inlaid in shell [2] with multiple small representations; but in keeping with its material and thickness, it must have decorated a relief such as the "dairy scene" [3] composed of limestone figures fixed on a bituminous stone background, whether partially inlaid or not is uncertain [4] .

Stylistically, we see a rapport with works of the period such as the mace head of Eannatum I or II [5] for the line of the skull and nose with its very slight dip over the nose bridge, the contour of the eye, the line of the neck and jaw up to the lobe of the ear. The same line of the neck and the shape of the ear are to be found on a votive stele [6] similarly attributed.

1 Spycket, A.: La statuaire du Proche-Orient Ancien (Leiden/Cologne, 1981), p. 75 ff.

2 London, British Museum WA 121 201: Strommenger, E., Hirmer, M.: Cinq millénaires d'art mésopotamien (Paris, 1964), no. 72, pp. 68-69 ill., pl. X, XI.

3 Baghdad, Iraq Museum: Strommenger, E., Hirmer, M.: op. cit., no. 78, p. 70 ill.

4 If there were any traces of this, the slight wear of time has erased them, as probably broken off in antiquity.

5 London, British Museum WA 23 287: Strommenger, E., Hirmer, M.: op. cit., no. 70, p. 68 ill. - Amiet, P.: L'art antique du Proche-Orient (Paris, 1977), no. 333, pp. 445, 370 ill.

6 London, British Museum WA 130 828: Strommenger, E., Hirmer, M.: op. cit., no. 71, p. 68 ill.