The Ancient Sumerians are widely regarded as the first true civilisation in the world, building expansive cities, and are known for inventing the modern wheel, writing, mathematics, and much more. Their empire reigned for thousands of years, and much of today’s beliefs can be traced back to the religion of the Sumerians.
They were also masters of their crafts and were already adept at creating artworks when many other civilizations were only starting out. Here we will look at some of the most memorable art from the ancient Sumerians.
The Standard of Ur
First discovered at the beginning of the 1900s, the Standard of Ur is a huge piece of art that’s believed to be almost 5000 years old. It’s a complex and intricate mosaic, and while much of it has been recovered by archaeologists, most of it has been lost to destruction and thievery. It’s made from a mixture of red limestone and lapis lazuli, and it’s understood that it was creed for the tomb of Ur-Pabilsag, who passed away in the year 2550 BC. The mosaic tells the story of his reign as king and gives some important insights into what life had been like for the people living during the time.
The Bull Lyre
Considered as one of the most visually appealing pieces recovered from the Mesopotamian period, the Bull Lyre was found in the tomb of Queen Puabi, and it’s believed that the lyre was created to help the queen fight off loneliness during her travels in the afterlife. The front of the lyre consists of the face of a blue bull, as well as the chest of the bull. It’s not known if the lyre could actually be played when it was created, and it might have simply been nothing more than a ceremonial piece for the queen.
The Lamassu were gods that offered protection to those that worshipped them and were portrayed with the bodies of lions and bulls, along with the wings of birds and the heads of kings of queens. They were usually found at the entrance to sacred temples, where they were seen as protective guardians, ensuring that no harm would befall the priests and kings while they were praying.
There is still plenty of lamassu that are still in existence, and it’s common for people to associate them with the rules of ancient Mesopotamia. They also closely resemble the sphinxes from Egypt, and there’s no doubt that the two civilisations inspired one another when it came to certain religious ideals – a world far different from our modern one of smartphones and online casinos sites in Singapore.
After the fall of the Sumerians and the Akkadians, the empire of Babylon would rise and control much of the Mesopotamian region. The Ishtar Gate was created during the right of Nebuchadnezzar II and could be found on the northern side of Babylon. Today, it has been reconstructed and can be found at Berlin’s Pergamon Museum and is widely regarded as one of the best examples of art from the period.