– 400 C.E.
Ancient Cultures

Unfinished Kudurru

Unfinished Kudurru
During the 2nd millennium, the northern (Assyria) and southern (Babylonia) regions of Mesopotamia (together with Egypt and the Hittite lands, in what is now modern Turkey) grew strong and exercised surprisingly harmonious political relations. For art, this meant an easy exchange of ideas and techniques, and surviving texts reflect the development of “guilds” of craftsmen, such as jewelers, scribes and architects.

"Unfinished" Kudurru, Kassite period, attributed to the reign of Melishipak, 1186–1172 B.C.E., found in Susa, where it had been taken as war booty in the 12th century B.C.E.

Babylonia at this time was held by the Kassites, originally from the Zagros mountains to the north, who sought to imitate Mesopotamian styles of art. Kudurru (boundary markers) are the only significant remains of the Kassites, many of which show Kassite gods and activities translated into the visual style of Mesopotamia.

This Kudurru, unfinished as it lacks its inscription, would have marked the boundary of a plot of land, and likely would have listed the owner and even the person to whom it was leased.
"Unfinished" Kudurru, Kassite period, attributed to the reign of Melishipak (1186–1172 B.C.E.)
Although an object made and intended for Kassite use, it bears Babylonian style and imagery, especially the multiple strips or registers of characters and the stately procession of gods and lions.

The Kassites eventually succumb in the general collapse of Mesopotamia around 1200 B.C.E. This is a period charaterized by famine, widespread political instability, roving mercenaries and, very likely, plague. This regional collapse affected states as far away as mainland Greece and as great as Egypt. It is often referred to as the first Dark Ages.

Text by Dr. Senta German

Your Comments (1)

Previous Comments

Artemis Tziolis wrote on Friday, July 13, 2012

So technically....kudurru are ancient garden gnomes?

Add Comments

We think Smarthistory works best when it prompts discussion. Please post (on-topic) comments.*

*All comments are moderated

To post a comment, you need the Adobe Flash Plugin. Download it from here.

Where and When

Unfinished Kudurru
Mesopotamia
1186-1172 B.C.E.
This work is an open educational resource and This work is licensed under a Creative Common Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 license.