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Eye idol

Period:
Middle Uruk
Date:
ca. 3700–3500 B.C.
Geography:
Syria, Tell Brak
Medium:
Gypsum alabaster
Dimensions:
1 3/8 x 1 in. (3.6 x 2.5 cm)
Classification:
Stone-Sculpture
Credit Line:
Gift of Colt Archaeological Institute Inc., 1988
Accession Number:
1988.323.8
  • Description

    This type of figurine, made of stone and having incised eyes, has been excavated at Tell Brak, where thousands were found in a building now called the Eye Temple. Many are incised with multiple sets of eyes, others with jewelry, and still others with representations of "children"—smaller eyes and body carved on the body of the larger idol. The idols are thought to be offerings—wide eyes demonstrate attentiveness to the gods in much Mesopotamian art.

  • Provenance

    1937-38, excavated by Sir Max Mallowan on behalf of the British School of Archaeology in Iraq and the British Museum; ceded to the British School of Archaeology in Iraq in the division of finds; acquired by the Museum in 1988, as a result of its financial contribution to the British excavation at Tell Brak in 1980s.

  • References

    Annual Report of the Trustees of the Metropolitan Museum of Art 119 (Jul. 1,1988 - Jun. 30, 1989), p. 16.

  • See also
    What
    Where
    When
    In the Museum
    Heilbrunn Timeline of Art History
    MetPublications
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