Heilbrunn Timeline of Art History



  • Eye idol, 3500–3100 b.c.; middle–late Uruk period
    Excavated at Tell Brak, northeastern Syria
    Alabaster (gypsum)

    H. 1 3/8 in. (3.5 cm)
    Joint Expedition of the British Museum and the British School of Archaeology in Iraq
    Gift of The Colt Archaeological Institute Inc., 1988 (1988.323.8)

    This type of figurine, made of stone and having incised eyes, has been excavated at Tell Brak, where thousands were found in a building now called the Eye Temple. Many are incised with multiple sets of eyes, others with jewelry, and still others with representations of "children"—smaller eyes and body carved on the body of the larger idol. The idols are thought to be offerings—wide eyes demonstrate attentiveness to the gods in much Mesopotamian art.

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    On view: Gallery 402
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    Eye idol, 3500–3100 b.c.; middle–late Uruk period
    Excavated at Tell Brak, northeastern Syria
    Alabaster (gypsum)

    H. 1 3/8 in. (3.5 cm)
    Joint Expedition of the British Museum and the British School of Archaeology in Iraq
    Gift of The Colt Archaeological Institute Inc., 1988 (1988.323.8)


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