This bronze vessel dating from 2123-2113 BC, was made and inscribed for the Mesopotamian King, Utu-hegal.

The King ruled in the city of Uruk, situated in what we now know as southern Iraq, and was an important ruler, celebrated in poetic terms for having ousted invaders called the Guti, who had held sway in Mesopotamia for about a century. The vessel's inscription claims Utu-hegal's kingship over the 4 quarters of the world, and concludes with a curse, meant to prevent the vessel's removal. The formula is long, and it has raised the possibility that it might originally have been held by a statue of the king, perhaps deposited in a temple in Uruk as a perpetual reminder of Utu-hegal's piety and excellence as a ruler. The text, as well as the object, is unique.


Erlenmeyer Collection, Basle (acquired before 1970); circa 1988; acquired by present owner.

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