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.
Mesopotamian Sumerian Pillow-Shaped Clay Cuneiform Tablet
A complete Mesopotamian rectangular pillow-shaped clay tablet with rounded corners, covered in Sumerian cuneiform. Carved onto the obverse and upper part of the reverse with cuneiform scripts, this tablet most likely features administrative records.
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 to both sides.
|Dimensions||L 5.2 x W 4 cm|
Near East (Western Asiatic)