Façade of the Inanna Temple

UnknownLate 15th century BCE

Pergamonmuseum, Staatliche Museen zu Berlin

Pergamonmuseum, Staatliche Museen zu Berlin
Berlin, Germany

During excavations in the precinct of the temple of Eanna at Uruk (southern Iraq), archaeologists discovered the remains of an isolated temple dedicated to the Sumerian goddess Inanna (Ishtar). From the evidence of a brick inscription its construction can be dated to the reign of the Kassite ruler Kara-indash. The outer façade of the rectangular building, measuring 22.5 by 17.5 m, which stood until the Seleucid period (4th-3rd centuries BCE), was articulated with niches. Fragments of moulded bricks found in the temple precinct were identified as belonging to the base of the edifice. For the museum display the entrance to the temple with its decoration has been reconstructed from the original fragments: alternating male and female deities hold in their hands small vessels from which water pours out in snaking lines. While the bearded male gods wear garments with a scale motif (symbolizing mountains), the clothes of the female deities are decorated with vertical wavy lines (symbolizing water). This image of the water-giving (and thus life-giving) gods can be explained in some detail: the mountain gods and water goddesses personify as the source of life the water supplies secured in Southern Mesopotamia. In this symbolic representation water constantly pours out and comes together to form streams that descend from the mountains (represented by the great scale-like symbols between the niches) which flow to the plains and so secure human existence. The iconography would also seem to refer to the origins of the Kassites, the foreigners from the eastern mountains who ruled Babylon for centuries.


  • Title: Façade of the Inanna Temple
  • Creator: Unknown
  • Date Created: Late 15th century BCE
  • Location: Uruk/Warka (Middle East)
  • Physical Dimensions: w9.75 x h2.11 cm ((with base, incl. doorway))
  • Type: Architecture
  • Medium: Fired clay bricks
  • Inv. no.: VA 10983
  • ISIL no.: DE-MUS-815718
  • External link: Pergamonmuseum, Staatliche Museen zu Berlin
  • Copyrights: Foto © bpk - Foto Agency / Staatliche Museen zu Berlin - Preußischer Kulturbesitz / Olaf M. Teßmer || Text: © Scala Publishers / Vorderasiatisches Museum, Staatliche Museen zu Berlin / Ralf-B. Wartke
  • Collection: Vorderasiatisches Museum, Staatliche Museen zu Berlin

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