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Standard of Ur
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THIS OBJECT WAS excavated from one of the largest graves in the Royal Cemetery at Ur in Mesopotamia. When found, the original wooden frame had decayed and the panels were crushed and broken. As a result, the present restoration is only a best guess as to how it actually appeared. Its original function is not known, but suggestions include a standard, and the sound-box of a musical instrument.

The long panels, covered with mosaic of shell, red limestone and lapis lazuli, are known as ‘War’ and ‘Peace’. ‘War’ shows one of the earliest representations of a Sumerian army. Chariots pulled by donkeys trample enemies; infantry with cloaks carry spears; enemy soldiers are killed with axes and others are paraded naked and presented to the king. ‘Peace’ depicts animals, fish and other goods brought in procession to a banquet. Seated figures wearing woollen fleeces or fringed skirts drink to the accompaniment of a musician playing a lyre.

Standard of Ur

From Ur, southern Iraq, c. 2600-2400 вс
Ht 21.59 cm
Excavated by C.L. Woolley

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