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Stele of Hammurabi

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  • March 2013
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Stele of Hammurabi is a sculpture that was commissioned by the king of Babylon, Hammurabi (c. 1792-1750 BCE). The monument is 7.4 ft. tall made of diorite rocks. The Hammurabi stele was discovered in 1901, by a French mission led by De Morgan at Shush in Iran. The Code of Hammurabi stele was engraved on stone and clay tablets. The monument is basically a glossy, black and a very tough stone. This stele represents the ancient Mesopotamian in the old Babylonian period. It was built to be viewed for its detailed carving and intellectual content. Today, it is located in Paris at the Louvre museum The lower 3/4 of the stone was smoothed to allow the punishments and the laws set by Hammurabi to be engraved on it. While the top 1/4 of the sculpture, is basically a relief that depicts Hammurabi while receiving the code verbally from Shamash, the god of justice. If a person was standing in front of the stele then the relief statue scene begins right above his eye-level. Due to the rounded form of the sculpture, it requires a viewer to walk around the object to see the inscriptions on the back and the front of it. In addition, when the viewer reads the text, the scene where Hammurabi receives the goddess instruction would be above him making it seem like they are almost watching him. Shamash and Hammurabi are approximately equal in size; one of them is unnoticeably larger than the other. Shamash can be noticed sitting, yet the two figures have the same height which can only lead to a conclusion of the concept of the connected importance as well as the artist's interest to visual balance. The curves and the inscriptions of this monumental also support transferring the commissioner's impulse. The inscriptions are placed on a horizontal grid. Actually, Vertical and horizontal lines, about 4000 lines of text which contain an approximately 282 laws, are all over the sculpture. The lines can be seen on Shamash's robe, beard, and on the throne. The horizontal lines on the...