Sumerian Cuneiform Foundation Cone for the Governor of Lagash

13634. Sumerian Cuneiform Foundation Cone for the Governor of Lagash

Gudea, ca. 2120 B.C.

Dedicatory inscriptions by rulers of the Neo-Sumerian period (2190-2000 B.C.) commemorating the construction of a building are commonly written on clay in the form of thick cones, or “nails” (i.e., cones with a mushroom-like head). These were produced in great quantity with the identical inscriptions, and were embedded in the wall of the new building. The Ningirsu Temple dedication is the most common Gudea cone.

In his numerous inscriptions Gudea, governor of the city-state Lagash, related the many pious building projects he carried out and dedicated to the divinities of the city. The building of the Eninnu, the temple of Ningirsu, seems to have been the great project of his reign. Two hymns each written on a large clay cylinder recount different stages of its construction.

Written in Sumerian language, in 10 lines.

ur-sag kala-ga
ní-du7-e pa mu-na-è
é-ninnu Anzumusen-bar6-bar6-ra-ni
ki-bi mu-na-gi4

For (the god) Ningirsu, the mighty warrior of (the god) Enlil, Gudea, governor of Lagash, a resplendent marvel, the Eninnu Temple-“Brilliant Lion-Headed Eagle”, he built and restored (to its former condition).

12 columns of beautifully cut text. 4-3/4 inches Length. Missing top and portions of flange. Excellent surface. Ex NY private Collector


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