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Human Figure
Mesopotamia, Sumerian Period 2450 B.C., Bronze, H: 16 cm

Late Prof. Wilfred George Lambert from the Birmingham University who specialized in Assyriology and Near Eastern archaeology and who made a major contribution in deciphering of cuneiform inscriptions admired this work of art in following words: “This is a standing figure in human form wearing a fleece kilt from waist to below the knees, the body above the waist bare. The head is not bearded, there is a prominent nose, the ears are large and applied, the hair is done up in a vertical roll at the back, and the eyas are large and for inlay (…)The hands are extended before the waist, and were holding an object, of which a little remains on the chest. It was no doubt an offering to a god, perhaps a kid. The feet rest on a roughly square base, below which are two pairs of rings attached, and through them two rods fit, still in place The rings and rods do not hold the feet, but were presumably the means of attaching this statue to something below. On the head there rests a cap (…) The statue is hollow behind the garment. This is a Sumerian statuette, of the early Dynastic Periods, c. 2600-2400 B.C. It is a rare piece, probably unique, and the whole object with base must have been a large item of unusual character. It is thus an important new find from the earliest urban civilization of ancient Mesopotamia. It is remarkable that it has survived in the wet soil of Southern Mesopotamia.”
The garment this figure wears is called kaunakes. Kaunakes of the Sumerian period were made of sheep skin with the fur outside arranged in fringes. However, with the pass of time textiles came to use instead of sheep skin and fringes were woven into or sewn on the textiles. Length of kaunakes reflected a social position of the wearer. Hem of gods’ kaunakes was spread on the ground, kings’ one reached the ankles, and soldiers’ or servants’ one was short. To inlay the impressive large eyes bitumen was used as an adhesive in those times.

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