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Art and Design Discussion
1. Even without television advertising and Press Secretaries, ancient Near Eastern rulers did
a fine job of self-promotion. Which examples of art do you feel best communicated the
rulers' power to their people? What leadership qualities did they present in their imagery?
One example of art that communicated the ruler’s power to their people is the
stone stale-the upright stone slab where Akkadian king Naram-Sin is portrayed as larger
in size than his army in a military triumph. It conforms to an artistic practice called
hierarchic scale. His larger size shows his importance. He is also raised above his army
boldly cast against the ground. The shape of the stale has a tapering top that impeccably
shelters the carved mountain in it. Naram-Sin grasps an absolute collection of weaponry
including battle-axe, arrow, bow, spears, and the helmet which crests his head sprout
horns, a characteristic reserved for gods. Wearing it showed he demanded divinity for
himself. His presentation and pose displaying a well-formed male physique, according to
Mesopotamian culture, relates to mighty kingship and mythical heroism. The Stale as
well tells of his military victories.
2. In this chapter we have depictions of gods along with humans. Use examples from the
chapter to explain how works of art embody the different and varied roles of humans and
their gods within the ancient near east.
An example that explains the varied roles of humans and gods is the tall vessel of
carved alabaster. The vessel has three horizontal bands, and the narrative reduced to its
significant components. The lowest band in a lower strip indicates the sources of life
including plants and water. The middle band shows naked males carrying baskets of
foodstuffs. The to...