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Ancient Near East: Chapter 2


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Ancient Near East: Chapter 2

  1. 1.  Sumerian (3500 – 2340 BCE)  Akkadian (2340 – 2180 BCE)  Babylonian (1792 – 1750 BCE)  Hittite (16o0 – 1200 BCE)  Assyrian (1000 – 612 BCE)  Persia (559 – 331 BCE) S.A.B.H.A.P (help yourself remember them in order!)
  2. 2. Iraq and Turkey (all Iraq except Hittite, which is Turkey)
  3. 3. KEY IDEAS: •Birth of art in the service of the state and religion •Objects and writing give us 1st systematic record of human development •Buildings made for religion (ZIGGURATS) •Buildings made for the state (palaces) •Built of mud-brick, painted or tiled/stone covered •Large STELAI erected throughout Mesopotamia (commemorate rulers’ achievements) •Guardian figures (man-animal) protect site entrances •Assyrian lion reliefs- first organized narrative art in history
  4. 4. EVERYTHING Started in Mesopotamia!!! Wow! Writing Cities Organized Religion Organized Government Laws Agriculture Bronze Casting The Wheel! •Big population in fertile river valley between Tigris and Euphrates rivers •City centers, urbanization •Groups overtaking each other for control of area (layering of cultures)
  5. 5. STELE OF NARAM-SIN From Sippar; found at Susa (present-day Shush, Iran). Naram-Sin r. 2254-2218 BCE. Limestone, height 6'6” •Kings used artists to help glorify their careers. •Artists make them look grand •Brought the gods to life •Sculpted narrative tales for legacy •Patron/Artist relationships form
  6. 6. -wrote in CUNEIFORM -royal names on tablets and sculptures -permanent records of business -wedge-shaped script -laws written down -tax records -first written epic, “Gilgamesh” -narrative painting to illustrate stories
  7. 7. CYLINDER SEAL = private communication between people CYLINDER SEAL AND ITS MODERN IMPRESSION From the tomb of Queen Puabi (PG 800), Ur (present-day Muqaiyir, Iraq). c. 2600-2500 BCE. Lapis lazuli •written document is folded and sealed with stamp •stamp is made of clay •pressed cylinder into clay •arrives with seal unbroken = no one messed with your mail!
  8. 8. INNOVATIONS IN ARCHITECTURE: •urbanization •buildings for living, government, and worship •not much stone or wood- used baked mud bricks (cheap and sustainable) •built ZIGGURATS (tall, solid structures of mud bricks) •ZIGGURATS dominated the flat landscape
  9. 9. INNOVATIONS IN PAINTING AND SCULPTURE: •clothed humans with anatomical precision •active figures (hunting, praying, rituals) •people are settled in cities = big sculptures (lamassus) •palaces filled with large relief sculptures carved into stone •represent animals with human characteristics and emotions •trend to combine animal parts with the human head
  10. 10.  Development of Cuneiform  Building of Ziggurats  Small Scale Sculpture in marble, diorite, hammered gold and lapis lazuli  The writing of Gilgamesh
  11. 11. Votive Figures from Tell Asmar(Iraq c. 2900 – 2600 BCE), limestone, alabaster, and gypsum (biggest one is 30” high)
  12. 12. Can you describe their characteristics?
  13. 13. •different heights = hierarchy of scale •men: bare chest, skirt, beard in ripple pattern, belt •women: dress draped over one shoulder •inscription on back- “it offers prayers” •figures held cups or branches in their hands •hands folded in prayer •huge eyes in awe •staring at the god(s) •arms and feet cut away from body •represent real people •praying to god Abu?
  14. 14. • 2 sides: war and peace • historical narrative • part of a soundbox for musical instrument? • figures have broad frontal shoulders, body in profile • emphasized eyes, eyebrows, and ears • repetition of forms • horses placed behind each other to suggest depth • organized- reads bottom to top Standard of Ur, c. 2600 BCE, panel inlayed with shell, lapis lazuli, and limestone
  15. 15. • hierarchy of scale • Sumerian king ½ head taller • came down from his chariot to inspect captives • enemies nude to suggest defeat and debasement < peace < war
  16. 16. More information about The Standard of Ur A mysterious object with one of the earliest representations of a Sumerian army This object was found in one of the largest graves in the Royal Cemetery at Ur, lying in the corner of a chamber above the right shoulder of a man. Its original function is not yet understood. Leonard Woolley, the excavator at Ur, imagined that it was carried on a pole as a standard, hence its common name. Another theory suggests that it formed the soundbox of a musical instrument. When found, the original wooden frame for the mosaic of shell, red limestone and lapis lazuli had decayed, and the two main panels had been crushed together by the weight of the soil. The bitumen acting as glue had disintegrated and the end panels were broken. As a result, the present restoration is only a best guess as to how it originally appeared. The main panels are known as 'War' and 'Peace'. 'War' shows one of the earliest representations of a Sumerian army. Chariots, each pulled by four donkeys, trample enemies; infantry with cloaks carry spears; enemy soldiers are killed with axes, others are paraded naked and presented to the king who holds a spear. The 'Peace' panel depicts animals, fish and other goods brought in procession to a banquet. Seated figures, wearing woollen fleeces or fringed skirts, drink to the accompaniment of a musician playing a lyre. Banquet scenes such as this are common on cylinder seals of the period, such as on the seal of the 'Queen' Pu-abi, also in the British Museum.
  17. 17. THE SOUND BOX OF THE GREAT LYRE c. 2600 BCE From Ur (present-day Muqaiyir, Iraq). Wood with gold, shell, and lapiz lazuli what do you know about this piece?
  18. 18. THE SOUND BOX OF THE GREAT LYRE, c. 2600 BCE From Ur (present-day Muqaiyir, Iraq). Wood with gold, shell, and lapiz lazuli •bulls head (in previous picture) •four panels on this side Sumerian wrestling two man-headed bulls wolf carries table with animal parts, preparing for a ceremony, lion bears wine, jug, cup donkey plays a bull-harp, bears dance, seated fox plays rattle jackal waves rattles, scorpion-man •animals in profile; people have frontal shoulders •animals have human characteristics (typical) •lyre was found in royal grave, funerary object?
  19. 19. ZIGGURAT!!!
  20. 20. What do you remember about ZIGGURATS?
  21. 21. NANNA ZIGGURAT, Ur (present-day Muqaiyir, Iraq). c. 2100-2050 BCE. •mud-brick building on colossal scale •buttresses spaced across surface to create light and shadow pattern •whitewash to disguise mud appearance •holes in surface (flags?) •tapers down = rain water washes off •small temple on top was set back and removed from general public •resembles a mountain •four corners oriented to compass •three large staircases lead to upper story entrance from three different directions •dedicated to moon god Nanna buttresses
  22. 22. Remember this guy? Describe him
  23. 23. Head of Gudea c. 2150 BC
  24. 24.  Gudea = peaceful ruler of Lagash  expresses a sense of calm  express a sense wisdom  folded hands, long fingers  right arm bare, broad shoulders  narrow waist, simple contours  carved in imported diorite or dolorite = wealthy/important guy  Gudea commissioned many temples  Many statues of him = he’s familiar
  25. 25.  deification of the king (king is god-like)  king rules with gods’ approval, but not assistance  erected permanent stone markers- STELAI  STELAI mark imiportant religious/civic sites
  26. 26. Victory Stele of Naram-Sin (Iran c.2254-2218 BCE) sandstone What do you remember about this?
  27. 27.  victory over the Lullubi (mtn. people)  Naram-Sin deifies himself  composition leads up to the heavens as he and his army climb the mountain  stars symbolize three gods  defeats his enemies: one thrown off cliff, one begs for mercy; one has a spear through his throat  Naram-Sin acts with the gods’ blessings, but is independent of them  he wears the horned crown of divinity and carries weapons  figures in composite views  narrative in art  hierarchy of scale, isolation of king  relief sculpture  commemorates victory
  28. 28. Stela of King Naram Sin (Iran c.2300-2200 BCE) Palette of Narmer c. 3400 – 3000 BCE Coming up in Egypt…
  29. 29.  Babylon is a well-ordered state  strict laws handed down from Shamash (god)  Babylon is highly decorated (hanging gardens and glazed tile) MAJOR WORKS: BABYLONIAN…….
  30. 30. Stele of Hammurabi, c. 1780 BCE, basalt  One of the earliest law codes (below scene). Laws given from Shamash to Hammurabi.  Sun god, Shamash, enthroned on ziggurat  He’s handing Hammurabi a rope, ring, and rod of kingship  Hammurabi with a speaking/greeting gesture  Shamash: frontal and profile at same time, headdress in profile; rays from behind his shoulder  Shamash’s beard is fuller than Hammurabi’s  Stare at each other  300 law codes under scene- punishment depends on social standing
  31. 31. It’s in Paris at the Louvre! Smolinski photos
  32. 32. Upper part of stele inscribed with the Law Code of Hammurabi. C. 1760 B.C. Diorite, height of stele approx, 7'; height of relief 28". Detail of inscription
  33. 33. Ishtar Gate, c. 575 BCE, glazed brick, Neo-Babylonian •Glazed brick covers mud walls of city •Animals guard entrance to city •Crenellations = warlike appearance •Reconstructed in Berlin, Germany from ruins in Babylon Crenellations hanging gardens of Babylon
  34. 34. Ishtar Gate  Colorful, sumptuous exterior  Blue background enhances earth- colored animal figures  Lions sacred to goddess Ishtar  Dragons sacred to gods Marduk and Nabu  Bulls sacred to the god Adad
  35. 35. Nebuchadnezzar II built…. •Ishtar Gate •Ziggurat (tower of babel) •Hanging gardens of Babylon
  36. 36. HITTITE ART •Used stone (not mud-brick) as building material •Large uncut boulders are impressive fortifications (protective walls) MAJOR WORK: LION GATE Hattusha (near present-day Boghazkoy, Turkey). c. 1400 BCE. Limestone.
  37. 37. •Gate to city •Guardian Lions •Huge boulders, no mud-brick •Massive impression
  38. 38.  Artists praised greatness of king  Killing enemies, hunting, masculinity  Humans are stoic (emotionless)  Animals have emotion (lions cry out)  King’s domination over wild animals = authority  CUNEFORM everywhere!  Words written across scenes and figures  Shallow RELIEF SCULPTURE is popular MAJOR WORKS……
  39. 39. Palace of Sargon II, 720-705 BCE, Khorsabad, Iraq, •City on a platform 40 feet high •Mud-brick •Contains ziggurat •Huge palace complex: 25 acres, 30 courtyards, 200 rooms •High exterior walls protected city from attack
  40. 40. More info about Sargon’s Palace •A walled CITADEL (fortress containing palaces and temples) was built near the palace •Sargon’s Palace complex = buildings where Sargon governed and lived •Built at the rear of the citadel on a 40-foot platform (man-made) •Art as propaganda to support political power •Guarded by 2 towers •Accessible only by a wide ramp leading up from an open square •Main courtyard with service buildings and temples •Courtyards within courtyards •Narrative relief panels •King’s throne room guarded by huge guardian figures at gate •Ziggurat was highest point- functioned symbolically as lofty bridges between the earth and the heavens (a meeting place for humans and their gods)
  41. 41. Lamassu, c. 700 BCE limestone •Human-headed animal guardian •Winged •5 legs (2 seen from front, four from side) •Ward off enemies •Feeling of harmony and stability.
  42. 42. Four legs seen from side
  43. 43. Two legs seen from front (five total- seems to walk by you as you walk by it!
  44. 44. AssurnasirpalII Killing Lions, c. 850 BCE, alabaster • A ceremonial hunt • Relief sculpture, bold contours • Animals show emotion, humans none. • Lion is most feared beast. King has power over nature. • Chaotic arrangement of lions • Organized arrangement of humans • Humans as stoic and severe • Ledge acting as ground line
  45. 45.  Largest empire at that time  Impress locals and dignitaries from abroad  Monumental architecture  Huge audience halls  Massive buildings for grand ceremonies to glorify the rulers and country  Architecture is characterized by columns topped by two bull-shapedCAPITALS holding up a wooden roof. MAJORWORKS….
  46. 46. Persepolis (c. 500 BCE), Iran •Built by Darius I and Xerxes I •Destroyed by Alexander the Great •Built for spectacular receptions and festivals •Built on artificial terraces •Mud-brick with stone facing •Giant lamassu gates Relief sculptures show gifts being brought to the treasury Central location of Persepolis =protection of treasury Columns had bell-shaped base that is an inverted lotus blossom Capitals are bulls or lions “Immortals” carved onto stairs (the King’s guard, over 10,000)
  47. 47. •Held thousands of people •Used for king’s receptions •Decorated with reliefs of the New Year’s festival with representatives from 23 nations •Many cultures (Greeks, Egyptians, Babylonians) contributed to the building of the site. Persepolis Audience hall: 36 columns with wooden roof