Mari (Tell Hariri), famous Ur treasure

Early Dynastic period, (around 2500 BC)

A composition of precious stones such as Lapis lazuli and gold, also copper and bitumen were used

Damascus Museum, Inventory: S 2399 (M.4405)

Height 12.8 cm, Width 11.8 cm)


Catalogue of Syrian Archeological exhibition" Ebla to Damascus" 1985, nr. 55.

This small sculpture represents one of the masterpieces of ancient Syrian art during the Early Dynastic period (Early Bronze Age). It was found among other items of the so-called Ur treasure found in one the site's foundation palaces. The creature is called "Anzu" in Sumerian and it is regarded as the symbol of Mesopotamian god Ningirsu. The function of the sculpture remains unclear, but it might have been used as a pendant since drilled holes could be observed in the wings. The body and the wings are incised in Lapis Lazuli, while the head and the tail were attached to the body through a copper wire, and they are fashioned in bitumen covered with gold leaf, and feathers are finely rendered. Noteworthy, eyes were inlaid with precious stones as we learn from various cuneiform texts evoking the ornament of deities' symbols in the Ancient east.

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