Mesopotamia (Ancient Greek: Μεσοποταμία – “land between rivers”, the Tigris and the Euphrates) is a historical region in the Middle East which included most of today’s Iraq and parts of modern-day Iran, Syria and Turkey. The area, characterised by fertile lands, saw the rise of the first complex urban centre and is, consequently, often referred to as the “cradle of civilisation”. Historically important centres in Mesopotamia included Uruk, Ur, Nippur, Nineveh, and Babylon. With the development of complex social structures came the need to record, as we do today, such things as temple acquisitions, land transactions, financial loans, as well as their epic stories and personal letters. Cuneiform writing was one of the earliest forms of writing, first developed in Mesopotamia around 3000 BC by the Sumerians. It is instantly recognisable by the wedge-shaped marks, usually pressed into wet clay tablets using a blunt reed. Indeed, the name ‘cuneiform’ literally means “wedge-shaped”. Clay tablets, such as this example, would have then been dried, which allowed them to retain the inscriptions.
Large Mesopotamian Clay Cuneiform Tablet
A complete Mesopotamian large rectangular clay tablet with flat sides. Carved onto the obverse and reverse with cuneiform scripts. Unfortunately, most of the inscriptions on the reverse and some on the lower part of the obverse have faded. Dated stylistically as Babylonian.
Provenance: Ex collection of a deceased gentleman by descent to his family in London and Geneva, collection acquired 1970-1990.
Condition: Fine condition. Light cracks to the surface. Front left bottom corner is chipped.
|Dimensions||L 7.7 x W 10 x H 1.5 cm|
Near East (Western Asiatic)