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Sumerian Head
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Sumerian Head

2144 a.C. - 2124 a.C.. Diorite.
On display elsewhere

This is one of the largest known Sumerian heads. It is quite similar to portraits of Gudea, the most famous and intelligent ruler of Lagasch. There is very little information about the origins of this piece, which Mexican collector Marius de Zayas donated to the Museo del Prado during World War II. Zayas himself stated that "the pieces that make up my donation have been collected over the course of twenty years and they all come from importers of Oriental art. As a result, I could not obtain exact data about their provenance, or where they were excavated" (Schröeder 2004: 85).

Technical data

Inventory number
Sumerian Head
2144 a.C. - 2124 a.C. (Gudea's Reign, King of Lagash)
Height: 22 cm; Width: 26 cm; Base/bottom: 21 cm; Weight: 18.6 Kg
Bequest of Marius de Zayas, 1944

Bibliography +

Museo Nacional del Prado, Catálogo de la escultura, Madrid, 1957, pp. nº435-E.

Culican, W., A head of the Gudea Period, Annual Bulletin of the National Gallery of Victoria, VIII, 1966–67, pp. 9-15.

Schlossman, Betty, Portraiture in Mesopotamia in the Late Third and Early Second Millennium B.C. Part 1: The Late Third Millennium, Archiv fur Orientforschung, XXVI, 1978, pp. 62-64.

Johansen, Flemming, Statues of Gudea ancient and modern, Akademisk Forlag, Copenhagen, 1978, pp. 40.

Blanco, Antonio; Lorente, Manuel, Catálogo de la escultura. Museo del Prado, Patronato Nacional de Museos, Madrid, 1981, pp. nº435.

Espinós, A. Orihuela, M., Royo Villanova, M., El ''Prado disperso''. Cuadros depositados en Madrid. X. M.N. Artes Decorativas, Boletín del Museo del Prado, 4, 1983, pp. 62.

Muscarella, W., Gudea statues, The Lie Became Great: The Forgery of Ancient Near Eastern Cultures, Groningen, 2000, pp. 172-174.

Schröder, Stephan F., Marius de Zayas, el donante reencontrado, Boletín del Museo del Prado, 22, 2004, pp. 83 / lám. 4.

White Muscarella, O, Gudea or not Gudea in New York and Detroit: Ancient or modern?,, Source. notes in the history of art, winter vol. 24 nº 2, 2005, pp. 6-18.

Ariane, Thomas (Dir.), L'histoire commence en Mésopotamie, Gand, Snoeck Publishers, Musée du Louvre, 2016.

Pérez Die, Mª Carmen; Pons, Esther, Egipto, Nubia y Oriente Próximo, Cuadernos del MAN, Ministerio de Educación, Cultura y Deporte, 2017, pp. 13.

Exhibitions +

Museo del Prado 1819-2019. A place of memory
19.11.2018 - 10.03.2019

Location +

Madrid - Museo Arqueológico Nacional (Deposit)

Update date: 04-11-2021 | Registry created on 28-04-2015

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