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From Tell Brak in what is now Syria, Middle Uruk period, 4th millennium BCE. This is an alabaster idol dominated by huge, staring, incised eyes; the body is bell-shaped. The the thin plaque has a pinkish hue and is translucent in a bright light. Tell Brak was a major Mesopotamian city in northeastern Syria, located on a trade route from the Tigris river valley north to Anatolia and the Mediterranean. The most famous building excavated at this huge site was the Eye Temple, where thousands of figures made of stone with incised eyes have been excavated. Archaeologists believe that these were placed there as offerings. The eye motif communicated the all-seeing nature of the deities who were worshipped there. The Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York has a very similar example to this one dated to the period 3500-3100BCE.
Height: 5 cm, width: 3.3 cm.
Condition: a few surface scratches to the fine patina; otherwise excellent.
Purchased from a UK private collection; prior to 1990.