Institute for the Study of the Ancient World

Institute for the Study of the Ancient World Old world, new vision.
The Institute for the Study of the Ancient World at New York University is a center for advanced scholarly research and graduate education, intended to cultivate comparative and connective investigations of the ancient world from the western Mediterranean to China, open to the integration of every category of evidence and relevant method of analysis. The official page of ISAW. Spam/ads, profanity, slurs, or attacks will be deleted.
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Bringing a little floral delight to your Wednesday from #awondertobehold with today’s #objecthistory post!•In the Achaem...
07/08/2020

Bringing a little floral delight to your Wednesday from #awondertobehold with today’s #objecthistory post!

In the Achaemenid Period, a technique similar to cloisonné was used to embellish architectural surfaces. Thin metal strips were applied to a brick to outline designs, creating borders that confined the liquid glaze and prevented different colors from bleeding into one another. This technique also allowed for the thick layering of pigment, which created deeper and more vibrant colors.

Three fragmentary bricks with palmette motif.
Achaemenid Period, ca. 559–331 BCE. Glazed siliceous material. Susa, Iran
(a) H. 8.6 cm; W. 21.4 cm; D. 12.6 cm; (b) H. 8.6 cm; W. 21.5 cm; D. 10.4 cm; (c) H. 8.6 cm; W. 18.8 cm; D. 13.8 cm.

Lent by The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, Rogers Fund, 1948: 48.98.20a–c
CC0 1.0 Image courtesy of The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York

#isawishtarslion #museumsfromhome #isawnyu

For today’s object history post we are collaborating with Penn Museum, Yale Babylonian Collection, and The Metropolitan ...
07/01/2020

For today’s object history post we are collaborating with Penn Museum, Yale Babylonian Collection, and The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York for #connectingcollections.

This seal is on loan to ISAW from the Penn Museum. In "A Wonder to Behold," this piece--made over two thousand years prior to the Ishtar Gate and Processional Way--demonstrates the long history and significance of lion imagery in the ancient Middle East. Carved in high relief, this seal captures the iconic profile of a lion's head. On Babylon’s Processional Way, the same animal's full profile was repeated 120 times using molded and glazed clay bricks created with terracotta molds. The seal similarly plays with positive and negative relief imagery. When impressed into clay, the intaglio carvings on the seal's flat side (also perhaps lions) could be endlessly reproduced as raised images.

Zoomorphic-shaped stones dating to the Uruk and Jemdet-Nasr periods have been found during excavations at Susa and Ur, suggesting economic and cultural links between these early cities in Iran and Iraq. These objects look like later stamp seals—as they are carved with images on their flat sides. No examples of tablets with early writing featuring the impressions of such seals are known, but the objects may have been used on clay bullae, or on the lumps of clay used to seal vessels and storage rooms—materials that would have later been thrown out. At the same time, the stones may have been worn as amulets. Despite these commonalities, differences in material and carving techniques can be seen in the examples on view at @isawnyu and in the collections of the @metmuseum, the @pennmuseum, and the @yalebabyloniancollection.

Stamp seal in the shape of a lion and modern impression, with three animals on the seal face
Marble
Probably Mesopotamia, Iraq
Seal: H. 5.1 cm; W. 4.5 cm; D. 1.7 cm; Impression: H. 6.5 cm; W. 5.5 cm
Jemdet Nasr Period, ca. 3000–2900 BCE
B14537
University of Pennsylvania Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology, Philadelphia
Bequest of Maxwell Sommerville, 1904

#connectingcollections #objecthistory #isawnyu #awondertobehold #isawishtarslion #museumsfromhome #ancientmiddleeast #virtuallionpride

To end our series on ancient Middle Eastern animals we look at the fierce battle, played out in miniature, on the beauti...
06/24/2020

To end our series on ancient Middle Eastern animals we look at the fierce battle, played out in miniature, on the beautiful jasper cylinder seal lent to us from @themorganlibrary.

Fearsome battles between wild animals were as much a source of interest in ancient times as they are today. Engraved into a colorful jasper seal, this contest scene portrays a lion and bull locked in battle. When pressed into clay and rolled out the stone seal produced a never-ending band of imagery. Both the bull and lion were understood to be epitomes of strength and appear on the Babylon’s Ishtar Gate.

Cylinder seal and modern impression with contest between lion and bull
Middle Assyrian Period, ca. 1300–1200 BCE
Mottled red jasper
Probably Northern Mesopotamia, Iraq
H. 3.1 cm; Diam. 1.5 cm
The Morgan Library & Museum, New York: Morgan Seal 604

#awondertobehold #isawnyu #isawishtarslion #ancientanimals @ Institute for the Study of the Ancient World

06/17/2020

We are excited to share our Object History video post today! Thanks to #awondertobehold co-curator Anastasia Amrhein for taking it on. In this video she discusses the afterlife and further elaboration of the artistic technologies of the Ishtar Gate during the Achaemenid Persian period.

Bricks with the head of an archer
Achaemenid Period (reign of Darius I, ca. 510 BCE)
Molded and glazed siliceous material
Palace of Darius I, Susa, Iran
H. 27 cm; W. 46.8 cm; D. 12 cm
Musée du Louvre, Paris, Département des Antiquités orientales: Sb 21878

#isawnyu #isawishtarslion #objecthistories #museumsfromhome @museelouvre

The ISAW community is filled with grief and distress at the killing of George Floyd and expresses our sympathy for his f...
06/03/2020

The ISAW community is filled with grief and distress at the killing of George Floyd and expresses our sympathy for his family and loved ones. We stand in solidarity with communities of color, especially those of African descent, for whom this horrific event, and the enduring presence of racism in our society that allowed it to happen, are causes of sorrow, outrage, and fear.

We invite you to read the message that NYU President Andrew Hamilton sent out to the entire NYU community last Sunday.

https://www.nyu.edu/about/leadership-university-administration/office-of-the-president/communications/a-message-from-andrew-hamilton-5-31-20.html

Last week we asked you which ancient Mesopotamian guardian animal you found most intimidating! We had a number of votes ...
05/27/2020

Last week we asked you which ancient Mesopotamian guardian animal you found most intimidating! We had a number of votes for lions but today we look at another vessel decorated with bulls. Perhaps understanding a little bit more about the ritual significance of bulls in Mesopotamia will get them a few more points on the ferocious scale.

This bowl with processing bulls probably originated from a cultic context and dates over two thousand years earlier than the Ishtar Gate, demonstrating the continued religious significance of these animals throughout Mesopotamian history. Although the bulls on the Ishtar Gate are molded in clay and those on the bowl are carved in stone, both are executed in high relief, which allows the animals to extend their presence into the viewer’s physical space.

Whether in the form of monumental architectural decoration or an intimate, hand-held object, bulls were a potent presence in Mesopotamia, signifying the power of kings, as well as gods-- especially the storm-god Ishkur/Adad, who thundered like a bull, and the moon-god Nanna/Sin, whose celestial crescent was likened to bull horns

Bowl with procession of bulls
Early Dynastic I Period, ca. 2900–2600 BCE
Marble
Probably Southern Mesopotamia, Iraq
H. 7 cm; W. 21.3 cm; D. 22.9 cm
Lent by The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, Fletcher Fund, 1939: 39.61

#isawnyu #awondertobehold #isawishtarslion #museumfromhome

With today’s #objecthistory for #awondertobehold we continue looking at ancient depictions of animals but on colorful ve...
05/20/2020

With today’s #objecthistory for #awondertobehold we continue looking at ancient depictions of animals but on colorful vessels instead of imposing brick walls!

This wheel-made vessel shows the brilliance of color and imagery that could be achieved with ancient glazing technologies. The absence of a solid foot as well as the vessel’s quality and ornate decoration suggest that this was more than just a household storage device. Similar vessels were used to hold wine in ritual contexts, and are also known to have served as funerary urns.

Vessel with frieze of kneeling bulls
Iron Age III, ca. 800–600 BCE
Glazed baked clay
Said to be from Ziwiye, Iran
H. 43.5 cm; Diam. 29.2 cm

Lent by The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, Purchase, Joseph Pulitzer Bequest, 1955: 55.121.2

Image copyright © The Metropolitan Museum of Art. Image source: Art Resource, NY

#isawishtarslion #isawnyu #ancientart #ancientmiddleeast

If you don’t have a fierce Ishtar Lion on hand, perhaps you have a mushhushshu-dragon to guard your home! Share your hom...
05/13/2020

If you don’t have a fierce Ishtar Lion on hand, perhaps you have a mushhushshu-dragon to guard your home! Share your homemade Ishtar Gate recreation with #isawishtarslionathome and tag us @isawnyu to be featured in our stories!

This sketch shows the process of reconstructing a mushhushshu-dragon that once decorated the Ishtar Gate. Working with thousands upon thousands of glazed brick fragments and using the representations of dragons that were still preserved on the foundation levels of the Gate as their model, archaeologists and conservators first pieced together the fragments into whole bricks and then assembled those bricks like puzzle pieces to reconstitute the majestic beasts.

Reconstruction of bricks with a mušhuššu-dragon from the Ishtar Gate
Artist unknown
ca. 1899–1917 CE
Graphite on paper
H. 33.2 cm; W. 48 cm
Deutsche Orient-Gesellschaft, Berlin: ArDOG V.28.41
© Deutsche Orient-Gesellschaft, Archiv; Photo: Olaf M. Teßmer

#awondertobehold #isawishtarslion #isawishtarslionathome #isawishtarsmushussu #ancientmiddleeast
#isolationcreation #museumsathome

With today’s iconic Ishtar Gate Lion, we challenge our community to tag us in your very own Ishtar Gate recreations and ...
05/06/2020

With today’s iconic Ishtar Gate Lion, we challenge our community to tag us in your very own Ishtar Gate recreations and use the hashtag #isawishtarslionathome!

Some 60 pairs of lions lined the walls of the Processional Way, parading out from the city of Babylon and the Ishtar Gate. Their fierce strides and snarling mouths intimidated anyone trying to enter the city with ill intent, protecting the inhabitants of Babylon.

60 snarling cats may have been the right number for Nebuchadnezzer II but all we need from you is one guardian animal for this challenge!

Do you have a furry friend at home who can pose like the Ishtar gate striding lion? Or maybe like the mušhuššu-dragon we posted on April 1st? Let’s be honest all household pets think they are the fierce guardians of their domain anyways! Just remember to tag us @isawnyu and use the hashtag #isawishtarslionathome

Reconstructed panel of bricks with a striding lion
Neo-Babylonian Period (reign of Nebuchadnezzar II, 604–562 BCE)
Molded and glazed baked clay
Processional Way, El-Kasr Mound, Babylon, Iraq
H. 99.7 cm; W. 230.5 cm

Lent by The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, Fletcher Fund, 1931: 31.13.2
CC0 1.0 Image courtesy of The Metropolitan Museum of Art

#isawishtarslion #isawnyu #isawishtarsmushussu #awondertobehold #newyorkuniversity #isolationcreations

For this week’s Object History post ISAW would like to commemorate the life and work of Rifat Chadirji, an international...
04/29/2020

For this week’s Object History post ISAW would like to commemorate the life and work of Rifat Chadirji, an internationally renowned architect from Iraq, whose photos are featured in our current exhibition.

Chadirji's works fused traditional forms and modern technology, and his documentation of traditional practices in the environs of Baghdad in the 1960s helps bring to life the construction of Babylon's Ishtar Gate in ISAW's #AWondertoBehold.

In the photos taken by Chadirji, water and other elements like straw are added to clay and mixed; the clay is then set into square wooden molds, and subsequently left out in the sun to dry. This same process was used by builders some 2500 years ago in the city of Babylon.

Chadirji's photographs of brickyards outside Baghdad show the enormous amounts of space, resources, and labor required for the production of mud bricks, and remind us of the importance of the past in a world that is forever moving forward. Chairji passed away two weeks ago in London and we are honored to feature his work in our galleries.

Rifat Chadirji (1926–2020)
Brick Production Near Baghdad, 1976
Photographic prints
H. 10.16 cm; W 15.24 cm

Kamil and Rifat Chadirji Photographic Archive,
courtesy of Aga Khan Documentation Center,
MIT Libraries ([email protected])
http://archnet.org/collections/17

#rifatchadirji #iraqiarchitecture #isawishtarslion #isawnyu #ishtargateofbabylon @ Institute for the Study of the Ancient World Archnet

Day 7 and our final post for #museumsthankhealthheroes.•We’d like to once again express our gratitude for all the health...
04/28/2020

Day 7 and our final post for #museumsthankhealthheroes.

We’d like to once again express our gratitude for all the healthcare workers here in NYC and around the world. We would also like to acknowledge and thank all the essential workers!

With our last cylinder seal, on loan from @thebritishmuseum to our exhibition #awondertobehold, we look at how shape, imagery, material, and the natural world all came together in #ancientmedicine.

This seal is carved in serpentinite--a soft dark stone that is greasy to the touch. This material likely held healing power in ancient Mesopotamia. A large group of Neo-Assyrian-period serpentinite cylinder seals depict scenes of healing, where ritual/medical practitioners tend to sick individuals who are in bed or receiving therapy under the night sky--from the stars and planets--in small huts made of dried reeds. The healing function of such objects stemmed in part from imagery, and in part from the material itself.

Cylinder seal and Modern Impression with the creator god Enki/Ea in his watery realm (apsû)
Black serpentinite
Probably Southern Mesopotamia, Iraq
Akkadian Period, ca. 2334–2154 BCE
H. 2.7 cm; Diam. 1.55 cm
The British Museum; 1983,0101.300

#awondertobehold #isawishtarslion #isawnyu #ancientmedicine

Day 6 of #museumsthankhealthheroes Cylinder Seals! •Yesterday, we learned how some ancient prescriptions required these ...
04/27/2020

Day 6 of #museumsthankhealthheroes Cylinder Seals!

Yesterday, we learned how some ancient prescriptions required these powerful stones to be shaped into specific forms. Today, we take the next step in stone shaping and look at engraved cylinder seals.

This seal is made of limestone--a soft, light-colored, calcite bearing stone. In ancient Mesopotamia this material was known as alallu, a stone that protected against plagues:

Assyrian king Sennacherib states that he had colossi carved for his palace from “alallu-stone [whose nature is like date-palm bark], and girimhilibû-stone [whose nature] is like pomegranate fruit (or: flower), delightful to look on, stone(s) preventing plagues from approaching man.”
(Translation by N. Postgate. “Mesopotamian Petrology.” Cambridge Archaeological Journal 7/2 [1997]: 217.)

Another Assyrian king, Esarhaddon, commissioned an image of a reclining mušhuššhu- dragon executed in alallu-stone as a dedication to Marduk that is said to have been installed at Babylon. We can imagine that this relief or sculpture (which does not survive in the archaeological record) would have protected the citizens of Babylon against illness.

Cylinder seal and modern impression with a king in contest with two lions
Grayish pink limestone
Probably Persia, Iran
Achaemenid Period, ca. 550–450 BCE
H. 2.9 cm; Diam. 1.3 cm

The Morgan Library & Museum, New York, Morgan Seal 819
© The Morgan Library & Museum, New York.

#awondertobehold #isawishtarslion #isawnyu #ancientmedicine

Day 5 of #museumsthankhealthheroes Put me down for one dog-shaped gold amulet. •Yesterday, we looked at how the āšipū us...
04/26/2020

Day 5 of #museumsthankhealthheroes Put me down for one dog-shaped gold amulet.

Yesterday, we looked at how the āšipū used different stones to create a healing recipe to treat different afflictions. Today, we learn how some of these recipes called for amulets and stones to be further shaped into particular forms.

This necklace features amulets in addition to beads: a hand and a lion as well as bead in the shape of an eye. Bead shapes held special significance in the healing process. For example, one necklace prescription for the appeasement of Gula, Ištar, and Šamaš--gods who could bring on illness--specified the use of a gold dog-shaped amulet in addition to an agate stone in a gold setting, and four jasper/chalcedony beads, one of them in the shape of a crescent moon.

Reconstructed necklace
Stone (including carnelian, agate, and rock crystal), shell, and vitreous materials
Tomb 11, Shibaniba (modern Tell Billa), Iraq
Middle Assyrian Period, ca. 1363–1000 BCE
Overall: L. 36 cm; Beads: Diam. max. 1.7 cm

University of Pennsylvania Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology, Philadelphia; 31-51-53
American School Oriental Research/University Museum Expedition to Tell Billa, Iraq; E. A. Speiser, 1931

Day 4 of #museumsthankhealthheroes “Medicinal mix and match”•Yesterday, we learned about some of the different stones th...
04/25/2020

Day 4 of #museumsthankhealthheroes “Medicinal mix and match”

Yesterday, we learned about some of the different stones the āšipū used for different ailments. Today we learn how they brought them all together!

Multiple stone varieties were required to cure a single disease and the same stones appear in multiple recipes, so it is difficult to pinpoint the exact function of any single stone. Necklaces seem to have functioned through the juxtaposition or combination of different materials. Necklaces of a single stone, for example, do not occur, suggesting that materials derive or augment their power from each other, and their specific arrangement in a necklace.

Reconstructed Necklaces
Three reconstructed necklaces
Stone (including carnelian), shell, and vitreous materials
Level IV, Hasanlu, Iran
Iron Age II, ca. 1000–800 BCE

(1) Overall: L. 34 cm; Beads: Diam. max. 2 cm; (2) Overall: L. 29 cm; Beads: Diam. max. 0.4 cm; (3) Overall: L. 28 cm; Beads: Diam. max. 1 cm

University of Pennsylvania Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology, Philadelphia
71-23-193.1-3
The Hasanlu Project; Robert H. Dyson Jr., 1971
Courtesy of Penn Museum

#awondertobehold #isawishtarslion #ancientmedicine #ancientmiddleeast #pennmuseum #isawnyu

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Opening March 6th: “Hymn to Apollo: The Ancient World and the Ballets Russes”

What can we know about ancient dance? Why did European avant-garde artists look to antiquity at the beginning of the twentieth century? With an array of ancient representations of dance, Hymn to Apollo: The Ancient World and the Ballet Russes explores both the role of dance in ancient culture and the influence of antiquity on the modernist reinventions of the Ballets Russes, the ground-breaking dance company founded in Paris by Sergei Diaghilev.

With about 100 works, including outstanding examples of ancient pottery, sculpture, and metalwork, as well as watercolors, sketchbooks, photographs, costumes, and other archival material from the Ballets Russes, this exhibition—the first on the topic—reveals a rich, multifaceted dialogue between the ancient and the modern. More than a simple story of the reception of antiquity by artists in the twentieth century, Hymn to Apollo shows how artists returned to antiquity not as benighted traditionalists but as radical revolutionaries, intent on creating something new.

http://isaw.nyu.edu/exhibitions/future-list

Our exhibitions are free and open to the public. When we have an active exhibition, the typical gallery hours are as follows: Wednesday-Sunday, 11am-6pm, Friday 11am-8pm Closed Mondays and Tuesdays Free Guided Tour, Fridays at 6pm


Comments

This discovery should be of interest. Facebook.com/stonespeaker
Every exhibit at this place is stimulating and thought-provoking. The connection between the ancient Greeks and modern dance? Of course!
Tiny but wonderful Institute. Lots of really good exhibitions.
Luigi Enrico Rossi κηληθμῷ δ᾽ ἔσχοντο. Scritti editi e inediti (Collected papers) edited by Giulio Colesanti and Roberto Nicolai with the collaboration of Maria Broggiato, Andrea Ercolani, Manuela Giordano, Laura Lulli, Michele Napolitano, Riccardo Palmisciano, Livio Sbardella, Maurizio Sonnino The work collects all scientific writings, including some unpublished works, produced by Luigi Enrico Rossi (1933-2009) in almost fifty years of activity, in which he acted as professor of Greek Literature at the “Sapienza” university of Rome, enlivening the Greek Literature seminar in Rome, speaker at numerous conferences, as well as lecturer at many universities and institutions across the globe. In all his works we can see his characteristic approach to literature, understood as an act of communication within a precise historical context. The topics focus on Greek metric and music, Homer and the archaic epic, lyric poetry and symposium, Attic drama (tragedy and comedy but also satyr play), Hellenistic literature, literary criticism and history of classical studies. On the tenth anniversary of his untimely death, his Roman students, who continue his tradition in the new Seminars of Greek Literature "Luigi Enrico Rossi" at the "Sapienza" university of Rome, want to remember his fundamental work as a scholar collecting all his works, some of which are still unpublished (but already presented by him on various occasions), while others, issued in scientific publications not easy to find, risk with time to become inaccessible. We would therefore be very happy if you would accept our invitation to participate in this enterprise by joining the Tabula in memoriam using the attached form. Rome, 26 November 2018 Giulio Colesanti and Roberto Nicolai
Sito Megalitico ldp, Montarsolo, Alta Valtrebbia (Piacenza-Italy)