discovering the heart of Oman

Salut Museum


Statue of a “standard bearer”

Statue of a "standard bearer" (Invernizzi A., Dal Tigri all'Eufrate, I, Florence 1992: pl. 60)

Bassekti, northern Iraq
Baghdad, Iraq Museum (IM 77823)
Copper; D base 67, H 35
Akkadian period - Kingdom of Naram-Sin (2254-2218 BC)
Discovered during the digging for the construction of a road between Zakho and Mosul, this piece constitutes one of the few exemplars of Akkadian metal statuary. Only the lower part of a naked male figure, in life-size, is preserved. The man is squat down over a round base, bearing an incised cuneiform inscription. The figure, wearing the typical belt of Early Dynastic tradition, has the legs bent towards the left; a cylindrical socket for a vertical missing pole is placed between his legs.
The statue is interpretated as a “standard bearer”, a mythical figure usually associated to the water deities and often represented in the glyptic of this period. It was certainly a ritual statue, to be placed at a temple entrance, as confirmed by the cuneiform inscription, which relates about the construction of a temple in the capital Akkad by the king Naram-Sin (2254-2218 BC), the first ruler deified during his life.
Cast in hollow copper with the lost wax technique, the object testifies the high level of the metal royal workshops in Akkadian period. (AL)