Art/ Collection/ Collection/ Art Object

Eye idol

Period:
Middle Uruk
Date:
ca. 3700–3500 B.C.
Geography:
Syria, Tell Brak
Medium:
Gypsum alabaster
Dimensions:
2 1/2 x 1 5/8 x 1/4 in. (6.5 x 4.2 x 0.6 cm)
Classification:
Stone-Sculpture
Credit Line:
Gift of The Institute of Archaeology, The University of London, 1951
Accession Number:
51.59.11
On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 402
This type of figurine known as an eye idol, 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. They were probably dedicated there as offerings. 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. Wide eyes demonstrate attentiveness to the gods in much of Mesopotamian art.
1937-38, excavated by Max Mallowan, on behalf of the British School of Archaeology in Iraq; ceded in the division of finds to the British School of Archaeology in Iraq; acquired by the Museum in 1951, gift of the Institute of Archaeology, University College London.

“Exhibition Sponsored by NY State Council on the Arts,” The Munson-Williams-Proctor Institute, Utica, New York, 1966–1969.

“La Vista y la Visión,” Institut Valencia d’Art Modern, Spain, July 17–October 5, 2003.

Azara, Pedro. 2003. La Vista y la Visión, exh. cat. Valencia: Institut Valencià d'Art Modern, pp. 174-175.

Rakic, Yelena ed. 2010. Discovering the Art of the Ancient Near East: Archaeological Excavations Supported by The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1931–2010. The Metropolitan Museum of Art Bulletin 68 (1), Summer 2010, p. 43.
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Date: ca. 3700–3500 B.C. Medium: Gypsum alabaster Accession: 51.59.1 On view in:Gallery 402

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