Lot 2277: Western Asiatic Sumerian Worshipper Figure
December 9, 2016
London, United KingdomLive Auction
Description: 3rd millennium BC. A figure of a male worshipper in lapis lazuli, with peaked cap or hairstyle, large nose and eyes; short arms and traces of object at the chest, possibly offering held in hands. 47 grams, 56mm (2 1/4"). From the Rihani family collection, 1980s. During Early Dynastic times highly ranked Sumerians began to place stone statues of themselves before the deities inside temples. Inscriptions were sometimes carved onto these statues and these reveal that they were dedicated by kings, priests, grain stewards, scribes and temple singers, in other words the rulers and chief functionaries of the great institutions of Sumerian society. Access to the most sacred parts of a temple where the main cult statue was housed, was reserved for these elite groups, both male and female, and their statues could be interpreted as symbolizing and reinforcing the hierarchical order that prevailed in Sumer. Lapis lazuli was a costly mineral that was imported from the mountains of Afghanistan and reserved for the elite members of society for use in jewellery and sculpture.
Condition Report: Fine condition.