Foundation Figure of a Kneeling God Holding a Peg
Mesopotamia, period of Gudea (ca. 2144–2124 B.C.)Copper Height: ca. 19.5 cm
This well-preserved copper figurine is a god, identifiable as such by his headgear, topped by several pairs of bull's horns. He is symbolically "nailing" the foundation of the temple permanently to the earth. The sculptor vested a figure, fully realized in the round, with an inherent naturalism and delicate fluidity. Though immobilized by the act depicted, the muscular interaction of his body parts is well understood. By analogy with earlier inscribed foundation figures, the deity probably represents the personal god of Gudea, ruler of Lagash.