Where: Eshnunna ( modern Tell Asmar, Iraq); The Square Temple. o
When: c. 2900-2600 BCE.
Votive figures were made as an act of worship to the gods and placed in a shrine before the image of the god. o
Writing on the back or bottom state who the statue represents and what they are praying for, although a common phrase found on them states "One who offers prayers". o
Made of limestone, alabaster, and gypsum.
Cuneiform text show the importance of approaching the god with an attentive gaze o
Convention: large almond- shaped eyes, clasped hands, and worried expression. o
Wide open eyes represent better contact with the god.
Cylindrical stylized shape
All wore the same costume: shipskin skirt
Large head and shoulders are an elaboration of where they believed the soul resides. o
There would be thousands of these left in ziggurats to represent Sumerian men and women who left prayers at the temple. o
Artists would make these at the temple complexes for a price, most likely depending on the size, and possibly which type of stone was used.
The votive figures were made of gypsum with inlay of shell and black limestone by Sumerians. Those figures dated 2900- 2600 BCE are from ruins of the Square Temple in Esnunna (modern Tell Asmar, Irag).
The tallest figure in the collection of Sumerian votive figures is about 30 inches in height and represents Abu, the Sumerian god of vegetation. Next to him is a mother goddess- mother goddesses were common in many ancient cultures. They were worshipped in the hope that they would bring fertility to women and to crops. The next largest figures are priests. The smallest figures are worshippers - a definite hierarchy of size. The statues represent worshipers and are stand-ins for actual persons, enabling worshippers, at least symbolically, to engage in continuous prayer and devotion. Eyes were considered to the Sumerians to be the “windows of the...
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