Sumerian Limestone Head of a Female Worshipper

Near Eastern · ca. 2600-2350 B.C




H: 7.2 cm (2.8 in)





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The head, characterized by expressive carving, belonged to a statuette of a female worship-per, most probably standing frontally, with her hands clasped in front of her chest, wearing a long garment. The long and wavy hair frame the face; it is held in place by wide bands; the curly locks hanging down on either side form the scalloped pattern. The face has a prominent aquiline nose; the corners of full lips are turned up as if expressing a smile. The wide-open deep-set eyes have almond shape, they were once inlayed (light color shell and lapis lazuli, or black limestone, for the iris) as well as the deep arching grove indicating the uninterrupted line of the brows could be also inlayed (black bitumen). Similar figures of male and female worshippers, standing or seated, were found inside the Mesopotamian temples as dedica-tory statues and statuettes, sometimes carry-ing inscriptions indicating the name of a god and the name of the person.


Reassembled from two parts; tip of nose and tips of hairlocks on the sides are broken off; surface weathered; a few chips.


Formerly in the Estate of Mrs. Charlotte Goodwin, widow of Dr. Mason F. Lord, Baltimore, Maryland, acquired prior to 1956.


4000 Years of Modern Art, The Baltimore Museum of Art, Maryland, 1956, no. 2.


The Baltimore Museum of Art, Maryland, Nov. 7, 1956 – Jan. 13, 1957;
The Munson-Williams-Proctor Institute, Utica, New York;
The Carnegie Institute, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania; The Albright Art Gallery, Buffalo, New York.


ARUZ J., ed., Art of the First Cities. The Third Millennium B.C. from the Mediterranean to the Indus. The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, New Haven, London, 2003, pp. 66-67, no. 28.
WEISS H., ed., Ebla to Damascus: art and archaeology of ancient Syria, Washington D.C., 1985, pp. 158-160, nos. 63-64.