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Diorite statue, probably of Gudea of Lagash
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Around 2159 bc the Akkadian state in southern Mesopotamia collapsed and the area reverted to city-states under local rulers. The best known of these is Gudea, ruler of Lagash (in modern Iraq) from around 2120-2100 вс. He was a prolific builder and some of the longest and earliest Sumerian literary texts were written during his reign. It is also recorded that he imported stone from Magan (probably modern Oman) and commissioned numerous statues of himself for dedication in his temples.

Many of these figures have been found at Girsu, near Lagash, most of which are now in the Louvre, Paris. Although this statue of a shaven-headed man with clasped hands does not bear an identifying inscription, it too probably represents Gudea. Despite his wealth, Gudea’s rule was limited to the area of his own city, which was soon absorbed into the new empire of Ur (called the Third Dynasty of Ur).

Diorite statue, probably of Gudea of Lagash


From Mesopotamia, c. 2100 не Fit 73.6 cm



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