She Who Wrote: Enheduanna and Women of Mesopotamia

June 18, 2021 through January 9, 2022

She Who Wrote: Enheduanna and Women of Mesopotamia brings together for the first time a comprehensive selection of artworks that capture rich and shifting expressions of women’s lives in ancient Mesopotamia during the 3rd millennium B.C. These works bear testament to women’s roles in religious contexts as goddesses, priestesses, and worshippers as well as in social, economic and political spheres as mothers, workers, and rulers. One particularly remarkable woman who wielded considerable religious and political power was the high priestess and poet Enheduanna (ca. 2300 B.C.), the earliest-named author in world literature. Bringing together a spectacular collection of her texts and images, this exhibition celebrates her timeless poetry and abiding legacy as an author, priestess, and woman.

She Who Wrote: Enheduanna and Women of Mesopotamia is made possible through the generosity of Jeannette and Jonathan Rosen.

Additional support is provided by Laurie and David Ying and by a gift in memory of Max Elghanayan, with assistance from Lauren Belfer and Michael Marissen.

Fragment of a vessel with frontal image of a goddess
Mesopotamia, Sumerian
Early Dynastic IIIb period, ca. 2400 BC
Cuneiform inscription in Sumerian
Basalt; 9 7/8 × 7 5/16 × 1 9/16 in. (25.1 × 18.6 × 4 cm)
Staatliche Museen zu Berlin, Vorderasiatisches Museum; VA 07248, acquired in 1914–15