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Ancient Sumerian Male Worshipper

Sumerian - Male Worshiper - Walters 215 (2)

Ancient Sumerian Male Worshipper

This Ancient Sumerian calcite-alabaster figurine of a male worshipper was created sometime in 2300 BC. The shaven head is a sign of ritual purity, which may also identify this figure as a priest. A partially preserved inscription on the right shoulder states that he prays to Ninshubur.

Ninshubur was a vassal and friend of the goddess Inanna in Sumerian mythology, her name means “Queen of the East” in ancient Sumerian. Much like Iris or Hermes in later Greek mythology, Ninshubur served as a messenger to the other gods.

Ninshubur was an essential figure in ancient Sumerian mythology, and she played an integral role in several myths involving her mistress, the goddess, Inanna. Ninshubur helped Inanna fight Enki’s demons after Inanna’s theft of the sacred me. Later, when Inanna became trapped in the Underworld, it was Ninshubur who pleaded with Enki for her mistress’s release.

This statue was created by the Sumer culture, which was one of the first civilisations in the world together with Ancient Egypt and the Indus Valley. Living along the valleys of the Tigris and Euphrates, Sumerian farmers were able to grow an abundance of crops, and this surplus enabled them to settle in one place. Proto-writing in the prehistory dates back to c. 3000 BC. The earliest texts come from the cities of Uruk and Jemdet Nasr and date back to 3300 BC.

Ancient Sumerian Male Worshipper

  • Title:                    Ancient Sumerian Male Worshipper
  • Year:                    2300 BC
  • Culture:              Sumerian
  • Findsite:             Bismaya (Adab), Iraq
  • Material:            Calcite-alabaster
  • Dimensions:      H: 19.5 cm (7.6 in); W: 13.3 cm (5.2 in); Depth: 10 cm (3.9 in)
  • Museum:            Walters Art Museum

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“Never interrupt your enemy when he is making a mistake.”Napoleon Bonaparte

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Photo Credit: 1) Walters Art Museum [Public domain, CC BY-SA 3.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0) or GFDL (http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html)], via Wikimedia Commons