Although nothing is known of the archaeological context of the find, this half-life-size head can be confidently dated to the so-called Neo-Sumerian period (c. 2150-2000 BCE). [...] The baldness is not only evidence as to period, but also shows that the statuette represents a priest - a function that the ruler exercised alongside his role as governor of worldly affairs. The distinctive stylistic features of early Neo-Sumerian plastic art reflect a certain naturalism which does not, however, quite attain the quality of the Akkadian period (c. 2350-2150 BCE). Despite its small size, this limestone head is a masterpiece of sculpture, not only by virtue of its proportions but also because of the subtle carving of the facial features, with their gently modulated surfaces. The charm of the little head resides not least in the contrast between the very forceful treatment of certain areas - the ears, the big eyes with their strongly arched brows, and the prominent chin - and the soft smoothness of the cheeks. The sense of individuality is particularly marked in the lower part of the face, with the narrow nose and the mouth with its almost sensual lips; the creative power of the artist is particularly evident in the profile view.


  • Title: Head from a Statuette of a Man
  • Creator: Unknown
  • Date Created: 2150 BCE - 2000 BCE
  • Location: Mesopotamia
  • Physical Dimensions: h14 cm
  • Type: Statuette
  • Medium: Limestone, white
  • Inv. no.: VA 2910
  • 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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