The Art of the Middle East Including Persia, Mesopotamia and Palestine

By Leonard Woolley | Go to book overview

CHAPTER III
SUMER: FROM THE BEGINNINGS OF ART TO THE END OF THE EARLY DYNASTIC PERIOD

Civilisation began in the Euphrates delta. It has already been explained how the very limitations of that country led to the development of urban life and to foreign trade; the wealth and leisure, and the differentiation of classes that resulted, made of lower Mesopotamia a natural forcing-bed of art.

THE AL 'UBAID PERIOD

FIG. 5

The earliest settlers were possessed of a neolithic culture of no mean order. As farmers, they were breeders of domestic cattle and growers of domesticated grain; their pottery was excellent, and their handmodelled clay figurines, the only free works of art of the period that are known to us, have distinct merit. The figures, nearly always nude female figures, are very carefully made and highly finished; the bodies, subject to certain conventions, such as the marked angularity of the shoulders, are realistic, whereas the heads, with their high headdresses of bitumen, are more reptilian than human, a quality which is perhaps due to the artist's lack of skill, but may equally well have been intentional.

These minor arts are characteristic of the al 'Ubaid period only and, so far as we can see, had no direct influence upon later ages, though they do bear witness to an artistic sense without which Sumerian art would not have come to fruition. It was to architecture that the al 'Ubaid people made an immediate and a lasting contribution.

In a land with no stone and no hard timber the only building materials supplied by nature were mud and reeds. Such might seem a poor basis for a school of architecture. The immigrants into the delta appear to have brought with them the knowledge of the making of mud bricks1 -- crude mud bricks were used for the earliest of the sixteen superimposed al 'Ubaid temples excavated at Eridu -- and had they employed only those they might well never have progressed beyond the primitive hut. But a nimble-minded people took advantage of the immensely tall and stout reeds that cover the Mesopotamian marshlands, and most of their building was done with those. Of this there is no doubt. In the Sumerian legend of Gilgamesh the hero lives in a reed house: remains of reed houses were found at Ur below

Architecture

-43-

Notes for this page

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this book

This book has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this book

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this page

Cited page

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited page

Bookmark this page
The Art of the Middle East Including Persia, Mesopotamia and Palestine
Table of contents

Table of contents

Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this book

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen
/ 259

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.