Mesopotamian Pillow-Shaped Clay Sumerian Cuneiform Tablet

£ 1,500.00

A complete Mesopotamian rectangular pillow-shaped clay tablet,  carved on the obverse with cuneiform script. The reverse remains plain. Based on the style of script, the tablet may date to the Neo-Sumerian period. Tablets such as this were usually administrative, recording agricultural and sociological information.

Date: Circa 3rd - 2nd Millennium BC
Provenance: Ex collection of a deceased gentleman by descent to his family in London and Geneva, collection acquired 1970-1990.
Condition: Fine condition. Minor chips and light cracks to the surface.
Product Code: NES-146
Category: Tags: ,

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.

Weight 118.8 g
Dimensions L 6.5 x W 7 cm



Near East (Western Asiatic)

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