The king’s head

This is a statue of a prince, and not just any prince!  It’s Prince Gudea. About 5,000 years ago, he ruled over the kingdom of Lagash, in Mesopotamia (modern-day Iraq). Look at his folded hands: this is a gesture of prayer. Gudea was very religious.

Gudea had many temples built, where he put statues of himself. One of them shows the prince seated, with this drawing on his lap.  Can you guess what it is a drawing of?

It happens to be an architect’s plan for a temple. According to the writing on the statue, the god Ningirsu came to Gudea in a dream and ordered him to have a sumptuous temple built. When he woke up, Gudea got right to work!

The Louvre has many statues of Gudea. Only one of them, showing the king sitting down, is whole, with no missing parts. Do you want to hear about how it was discovered?