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Art of the Ancient Near East: A Resource for Educators

Art of the Ancient Near East: A Resource for Educators

Benzel, Kim, Sarah B. Graff, Yelena Rakic, and Edith W. Watts
134 pages
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Many features of civilization originated in the lands we call the ancient Near East, a vast and varied area from Turkey to the Indus Valley of present-day Pakistan and from the Caucasus to the Arabian Peninsula. This essential guide for K–12 educators introduces the variety and diversity of art produced by the rich and complex cultures that flourished in this region during an equally vast time period, from the eighth millennium B.C. to the middle of the seventh century A.D. Learn about the cultural, archaeological, and historical contexts for a selection of thirty works of art in the form of sculpture, silver and gold ritual vessels and objects, monumental reliefs, cuneiform tablets, and stamp and cylinder seals. Curriculum connections, discussion questions, lesson plans, and activities for a range of grade levels provide useful strategies for teaching in the classroom. The resource also includes a bibliography and glossary.

These educational materials are made possible by Rolin Foundation USA.

Plate with king hunting rams, Silver, mercury gilding, niello inlay, Sasanian
ca. mid-5th–mid-6th century CE
Orthostat relief: seated figure holding a lotus flower, Basalt, Hittite
ca. 10th−9th century BCE
Relief fragment: cavalrymen along a stream in mountainous terrain, Gypsum alabaster, Assyrian
ca. 704–681 BCE
Amulet with a Lamashtu demon, Obsidian
ca. early 1st millennium BCE
Panel with a tree pattern, Ivory, wood (modern), Assyrian
ca. 8th century BCE
Foundation figure of king Shulgi of Ur, carrying a basket, Copper, Neo-Sumerian
ca. 2094–2047 BCE
Storage jar decorated with mountain goats, Ceramic, paint
ca. 4000–3600 BCE
Striding figure with ibex horns, a raptor skin draped around the shoulders, and upturned boots, Copper alloy, shell, Proto-Elamite
ca. 3000 BCE
Kneeling bull holding a spouted vessel, Silver, Proto-Elamite
ca. 3100–2900 BCE
Proto-Cuneiform tablet with seal impressions: administrative account of barley distribution with cylinder seal impression of a male figure, hunting dogs, and boars, Clay, Sumerian
ca. 3100–2900 BCE
Standing male worshiper, Gypsum alabaster, shell, black limestone, bitumen, Sumerian
ca. 2900–2600 BCE
Headdress, Gold, lapis lazuli, carnelian, Sumerian
ca. 2600–2500 BCE
Cylinder seal and modern impression: hunting scene, Chert, Akkadian
ca. 2250–2150 BCE
Foundation peg in the form of the forepart of a lion, Copper alloy, Hurrian
ca. 2200–2100 BCE
Statue of Gudea, named “Gudea, the man who built the temple, may his life be long”, Diorite, Neo-Sumerian
ca. 2090 BCE
Head of a ruler, Copper alloy
ca. 2300–2000 BCE
Shaft-hole axe head with bird-headed demon, boar, and dragon, Silver, gold foil, Bactria-Margiana Archaeological Complex
Bactria-Margiana Archaeological Complex
ca. late 3rd–early 2nd millennium BCE
Cuneiform tablet: record of a lawsuit, Clay, Old Assyrian Trading Colony
Old Assyrian Trading Colony
ca. 20th–19th century BCE
Furniture support: female sphinx with Hathor-style curls, Ivory (Hippopotamus), gold foil, Old Assyrian Trading Colony
Old Assyrian Trading Colony
ca. 18th century BCE
Pendants and beads, Gold, Babylonian
ca. 18th–17th century BCE
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Benzel, Kim, ed. 2010. Art of the Ancient Near East: A Resource for Educators. New York: Metropolitan Museum of Art.