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Gudea, "to the god Ningishzida"
Prince of the independent kingdom of Lagash at the end of the third millennium, Gudea is known for his piety and intense activity as a temple builder. This statuette is the only complete copy of a series of diorite representations of this prince, alternately standing or sitting. An inscription engraved on the loincloth indicates that it was dedicated to the god Ningishzida.
The statuary corresponding to his reign, especially made up of his own representations, is imbued with this piety which contrasts with the bellicose themes of the art of the Akkadian period. Thus, the inscription on the statue consecrates it to the god Ningishzida, who is also known to be Gudea's personal boss; it then enumerates the temples built by the prince, ending with the sanctuary of the same Ningishzida built in the oldest center of the city, where our statuette was erected.
Wearing a royal turban adorned with stylized curls, Gudea's hairless face is calm and smiling; his almond eyes are dominated by large eyebrows conventionally figured as fishbones. He wears a draped and fringed coat, already known from the Akkadian period, revealing an arm with marked musculature; his hands are joined as a sign of piety. The tranquil and powerful attitude of the prince is strengthened by the dark aspect of the diorite, common to all its representations.