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Collections | Ancient Near Eastern Seals & Tablets

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Eyestone amulet of Kurigalzu

Eye Stone Amulet with a Dedication Inscription of King Kurigalzu I in Sumerian
Mesopotamia, Kassite period, reign of Kurigalzu I
(ca. early 14th century B.C.)
Inscribed: To Enlil, his lord, Kurigalzu presented (this stone)
Agate
3.36 cm diameter
MLC no. 2625
See more in Written in Stone online exhibition »
See CORSAIR catalog record for this item »

Taking advantage of the stone's natural banding,agates were carved to resemble an eye. The votive inscriptions indicate the placement of the object on an altar or in a temple as a gift to a deity. The stones were thought to have some inherent power that would help protect the life of the person named in the inscription. These amulets probably adorned the cult statue of the god inscribed and were most likely worn in precious gold settings.

Kurigalzu, whose name means "shepherd of the Kassites," was an energetic monarch in both international and domestic areas. He maintained close diplomatic and economic ties with Egypt and is said to have received much gold from the Egyptian court. He built a royal residential city and named it after himself. He also built at older cult centers, such as Nippur, where this amulet probably came from, perhaps even from the Enlil Temple restored by Ur-Namma.

The agate was found probably at Babylon, where Marduk was the patron god of the city.

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Background images: Photography by Todd Eberle unless otherwise noted. © 2006 Todd Eberle.