Lot 305: Sumerian Cuneiform 'Festival of Shulgi' Tablet

Est: £15,000 - £20,000
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Description: Dated c. 2036 BC. A terracotta pillow-shaped tablet with cuneiform text; accompanied by an old scholarly note, typed and signed by W.G. Lambert, late Professor of Assyriology, University of Birmingham, 1970-1993, which states: Clay tablet, 74 x 45.5mm., inscribed on both sides with cuneiform writing, in Sumerian language, a total of 33 lines: 3 síla eša, 3 síla zí.dub.dub d.en.líl Three measures of spelt, three measure [sic] of best flour, for Enlil 3 síla eša, 3 síla zí.dub.dub d.nin.hur.sag Three measures of spelt, three measures of best flour, for Ninhursag 5 síla eša, 5 síla zí.dub.dub d.šára Five measures of spelt, five measures of best flour, for Shara 5 síla eša, 5 síla zí.dub.dub d.nin.ur?.ra Five measures of spelt, five measures of best flour, for Nin-urra 10 síla eša,10 síla zí.dub.dub d.ha.ià. ùd.dumu.zi / URU+A.a Ten measures of spelt, ten measures of best flour, for Haya and Dumuzi of Uru’a 3 síla zí.sig??, 2 síla zú.lum, 5 síla zígu, 3 síla eša, 3 síla zí.dub.dub d.nè.eri??.gal ká.mah.an. šè Three measures of fine flour, two measures of dates, five measures of pea-flour, three measures of spelt, three measures of best flour, for Nergal (going) to the lofty Kamah 5 síla eša, 5 síla zí.dub.dub d.šára a-pi?-šál.ki Five measures of spelt, five measures of best flour, for Shara of Apishal 5 síla eša, 5 síla dabin d.šára.d.im.MI.bábbar Five measures of spelt, five measures of barley flour, for Shara-Imdugud-babbar ki d ?šára-kam ta From Sharakam kišib en?.si.ka Seal of the Governor iti ezen.d.šul.gi Month: Festival of Shulgi mu má d.en.ki ba.ab.du? Year: the boat of Enki was caulked This tablet comes from the town Umma, in southern Iraq, and is dated to the 10th month of the 2nd year of Shu-Sin, 4th king of the Third Dynasty of Ur, c. 2036 B.C. It is a list of materials for offerings to the gods, a practical document documenting what had been taken from the official stores to be used in the appropriate temples during this month. It is interesting that the gods are listed in an official order: first comes Enlil, the chief Sumerian god, but not the chief god of the town Umma. Next comes Enlil’s sister, Ninhursag, again not the major goddess of the town Umma. Third and fourth come Shara and Nin-urra, the chief god of Umma and his spouse, and after them other gods important in the town of Umma and in nearby towns, such as Apishal. The documents explains at the end that the official Sharakam issued the materials from the official store, and that the document has been sealed with the city governor’s seal. This seal was in fact rolled on both sides of the tablet, making it difficult to read the writing. There is an inscription in two columns on the seal impressions, which reads: ?šu - ?sîn a.a.kal.la lugal kala.ga en?.si lugal úriki.ma ummaki lugal an.ub ir??.zu da.limmu.ba Shu-Sin Ayakalla mighty king governor king of Ur, of Umma king of the four your servant world regions The scribe wanted the seal inscription to be legible, so he rolled the seal with that purpose, and the art-work on the seal is not anywhere fully exposed in the impressions. However, the seated, deified king Shu-Sîn is clear, on a padded stool wearing a long robe with one shoulder exposed, and a hat with a deep brim. Facing him is a figure with one hand raised, who is meant as the governor of Umma, Ayakalla. Probably there was no third figure in this case. The tablet is in very good state of preservation and is an important document from the administration of the Third Dynasty of Ur. W.G. Lambert, Professor of Assyriology, January 1993 98 grams, 74mm (3"). From an important London W1, collection; previously with a German auction house in 1993, lot 594; previously acquired in the 1970s; accompanied by a typed two-page report by Professor W.G. Lambert, and a copy of the auction catalogue page. [A video of this item is available to view on TimeLine Auctions website.]
Condition Report: Extremely fine condition. Extremely rare and desirable.
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