Monday, April 17, 2017

Sumaria's "Mona Lisa"

Lady or Uruk c3700BC
Back in February 2008, I posted this:

An article published in Gulf News reports on the re-discovery of this ancient artifact:
"The 'Sayedat Al Warkaa', a Sumarian 20cm facial curving, known among archaeologists as the Sumarian Mona Lisa, and which is more than 5000 years old, was found in a garden after the police and occupation forces received a report." (note: link no longer working)

During the war in Iraq, the Baghdad Museum was looted of many of its priceless treasures (April 2003), including what was known as "The Lady of Warka" or "The Mask of Warka" or "The Lady of Uruk".

From IOL - 23rd September 2003:
The 5 000-year-old alabaster sculpture, which topped a list of 30 priceless antiques looted from the museum at the end of the invasion of Iraq, is believed to be one of the earliest representations of the human face, dating from around 3 500 BC. The Lady of Warka had been entombed for weeks in a Baghdad backyard before her rescue. Her saviours were a New York police officer and prosecutor who tracked the mask-like sculpture down to a shallow grave. 

From Irish Times - 19th September 2003
The alabaster sculpture is believed to be one of the earliest artistic representations of the human face, and dates from around 3500 BC. The work is originally from the ancient city of Warka. "During the past two days, we were able to recover the second most-valuable item of the Iraqi National Museum - the face of the Lady of Warka, which is known as the Sumerian Mona Lisa," Mr Mofeed al-Jazairi told a news conference. 

From Middle East Online - 24th September 2003:
Also known as the "Mona Lisa of Mesopotamia," the 20-centimetre (eight-inch) high limestone sculpture, dating from 3,100 BC, depicts the head of a woman and was returned to Iraq's National Museum in a formal handover.  It was fashioned in the southern city of Warka during the Sumerian period, and was among the five most precious pieces still missing since the museum was ransacked after the April 9 fall of Saddam.

From Ancient Pages -15th September 2016
The artifact – the first accurate depiction of the human face – is one of the earliest representations of the human face. Researchers believe that carved out of marble female face is a depiction of Inanna, the Sumerian goddess of love, fertility, and warfare, and the most prominent female deity in Mesopotamia.

From SFGate - 24th September 2003
The Lady of Warka lay buried half a foot underground in a farmer's backyard, wrapped casually in a cotton cloth and stuffed into a plastic bag, before a joint force of American soldiers and Iraqi police discovered the priceless 5,200-year-old sculpture last week.

Since it was stolen in April, the artifact -- known familiarly as the Mona Lisa of Mesopotamia -- had changed hands half a dozen times in the maze of Baghdad's back alleys and clandestine antique shops, going from dealer to dealer, said Col. Walid Misil, a Baghdad police spokesman.

Read More:
Open Access - The Mask of Warka
The Bible & Interpretation - Mesopotamian Ruins and American Scholars
Archaeology Magazine (online) - National Museum, Baghdad: 10 Years Later
University of Chicago Chronicle - Archaeologists review loss of valuable artifacts one year after looting
The Iraq War & Archaeology - Article 12 - 2nd 1/2 of September 2003

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