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: Purchase, Colt Archaeological Institute Inc. Gift, 1988

Accession Number: 1988.323.8


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.