Friday, May 31, 2013

Picture Day Friday: Standard of Ur

This is the Standard of Ur from southern Iraq from about 2600–2400 BCE. At that time, Ur was the capital of an empire stretching across southern Mesopotamia. Known today as Tell el-Muqayyar, the Mound of Pitch, the city of Ur was occupied from around 5000 BCE to 300 BCE.

The British Museum says that the object below "was found in one of the largest graves in the Royal Cemetery at Ur, lying in the corner of a chamber above the right shoulder of a man. Its original function is not yet understood."

"The main panels are known as 'War' and 'Peace'. 'War' shows one of the earliest representations of a Sumerian army. Chariots, each pulled by four donkeys, trample enemies; infantry with cloaks carry spears; enemy soldiers are killed with axes, others are paraded naked and presented to the king who holds a spear. The 'Peace' panel depicts animals, fish and other goods brought in procession to a banquet. Seated figures, wearing woolen fleeces or fringed skirts, drink to the accompaniment of a musician playing a lyre."

[Image courtesy of Wamtac.]