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Hermaphroditos

The statue of Hermaphroditos closes my Louvre trip (over 2 years after I actually visited it!). While the exquisitely crafted mattress it rests on was created by Bernini in the 17th century – and is a masterpiece in its own right – the statue itself is a Roman copy of a lost Greek original. The … Continue reading

Sumerian antiquities at the Louvre – 11

Votive offerings Little models of homes/temples were offered to Sumerian gods and goddesses as part of worship rituals, asking the deity to protect the supplicant. What struck me immediately I saw these were the similarities with certain Hindu ritual offerings. On Diwali in Northern India, Hindus create a small temple of sorts at home and … Continue reading

Ain Ghazal

The Ain Ghazal statues are some of the oldest large-size depictions of the human form. These range from 8000-7000 BCE and were found in Ain Ghazal (hence the name) in Jordan. Some of the cache are distributed (London, Paris, Abu Dhabi) while the rest are (hopefully still) on display at the museum in Amman, Jordan. … Continue reading

Hammurabi’s code of Law

Hammurabi’s laws are generally believed to be the oldest written laws, though that is not the case. The (mostly)preserved laws of Ur-Nammu predate these by about three centuries, and there is mention of older codices that have not yet been found (oh, the possibilities!) Hammurabi’s code, though remains the better-known and better-preserved legal codex, dating … Continue reading

Sumerian antiquities at the Louvre – 10

A war scene from a fragment of what was probably a palace wall. The scene depicts an assault on a fortified city, interestingly defended by a double-wall system with the inner wall higher than the outer one, allowing the defenders to shoot arrows and pour heated oil, tar etc. from two levels at the attackers. … Continue reading

Sumerian antiquities at the Louvre – 9

A statue of Gudea, Prince of Lagash. Having read about him in Sumerian history, it was a “little shiver down my spine” moment to see him face-to-face! The epic of Gilgamesh is probably the oldest epic/fable/legend known to us. It’s unclear if Gilgamesh was an historical figure or not, though the current thought is that … Continue reading

Sumerian antiquities at the Louvre – 8

Lamassu from the palace of Sargon II near modern-day Khorsabad. These mythical creatures with the body of a winged bull or lion and the head of a human were considered as guardian deities, and seals depicting these magical creatures were buried under the threshold of Assyrian homes in the 1st millennium BCE. Of course, the … Continue reading

Sumerian antiquities at the Louvre – 7

Cuneiform writing has always fascinated me. The first known script, I still wonder at the genius of the humans who came up with it. From simple scribbles for counting to a complex set of symbols for recording their history, literature, mythology, and more, this was one of the most remarkable inventions of all time. More … Continue reading

Sumerian antiquities at the Louvre – 6

Some more examples of foundation nails, these made of more perishable materials, pillar bases, and plaques from Sumerian temples. The king in the temple and relaxing at the palace. Visual representation was important even in the first society with a script. The king is depicted markedly bigger than the commoners, whether he is paying homage … Continue reading

The ol’ Eclipse

It’s been ages since I posted here! Somewhere along the line, work and various projects I took on have pushed this to the backburner and I lost the habit of posting. It’s not like I didn’t need this space, but I’ve been involuting a lot recently. Anyhow, this is neither the time nor the place. … Continue reading

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