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Alabaster ‘eye idol’
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Hundreds of these miniature figurines with prominent eyes were excavated from the remains of a monumental building, known as the Eye Temple, in Fell Brak, Syria. Tell Brak is the modern name of a huge Mesopotamian settlement that began as early as 6000 вс and became one of the most important cities in the region during the late prehistoric period. It held a strategic position on a major route from the Tigris Valley to the mines of Anatolia, the Euphrates and the Mediterranean.

The ‘eye idol’ figurines may represent worshippers and therefore may have been placed as offerings in religious buildings. They can be grouped into several types: single pair of eyes; three, four or six eyes; small ‘child’ eye figure carved on their front (as on this example); and eyes that have been drilled through. Examples of figurines with drilled eyes have been found at a number of sites of this period across north Mesopotamia.

Alabaster ‘eye idol’


Mesopotamian, excavated from Tell Brak, northeastern Syria, c. 3500-3300 bc
Ht 3.5 cm



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