Art History Lab

Mesopotamia - head of Inanna

Brian Wildeman

cylinder seals

Head of Inanna ca.3500 - 3000 B.C.E.

Inanna is considered the most important goddesses in ancient Mesopotamia. Images of Inanna date back to as early as 5000 BCE, long before the invention of cuneiform writing. Inanna is also known as Nanna in Akkad, and Ishtar in Elamite. Even the Greek goddess Aphrodite is thought to be a later manifestation of this Inanna. Inanna represents fertility (human and agricultural), war and love (but not marriage). Unlike many gods at that time, Inanna took a human form; appearing either elaborately clothed or naked. This full figure statue was once lavishly decorated with jeweled eyes and gold leaf hair. This sculpture had a prominent position, atop the ziggurat in the city of Uruk. After thousands of years, however, this chipped marble head is all that remains of the famous deity's statue.