Mari was one of the most northerly cities in the Early Dynastic Mesopotamia, inhabited by Semitic-Akkadians and dominated by Akkadian suzerainty. During the Early Dynastic period, circa 2900-2330 BC, numerous politically independent Sumerian city-states had intensive cultural contacts with the major Akkadian cities, leading to Akkadian material cultures and religious practices sharing a great deal of homogeneity with those of Sumerians who occupied the fertile alluvial plain in the south. The fashion of dedicating naturalistic stone statuettes of worshippers to the temples was magnified during the Early Dynastic period, and this might have had a Sumerian origin. However, elaborately engraved and richly embellished alabaster and hardstone votive sculptures were extensively found across the Akkadian area. Many of these have cuneiform signs indicating the Early Dynastic prestigious rulers were the dedicators, having devoted their sincerity and adoration to deities in these stone statuettes when their bodies were not able to physically be there as a worshipper.
Akkadian Stone Head of A King Worshipper
A finely sculpted Akkadian stone head fragment of a king worshipper, most likely belonging to the Mari culture, dating to the Early Dynastic Period, circa 2900-2330 BC. Facial features are carefully rendered in an idealised naturalistic style. The face features a single almond-shaped eye, an arched eyebrow and a high, prominent nose. The figure’s full beard is sculpted with raised strands, terminating into a curved end, framed by a wide raised band. Such rendering of the beard is typical of kings’ beards, as seen on monumental reliefs of the same period.
Period: The Early Dynastic Period
Provenance: Ex family collection, London. By descent, pre 1992
Condition: Fragment of a complete piece. Otherwise intact and in fine condition. The piece has been mounted on a custom made stand, ideal for display. 13.8cm height including the stand.