Saturday, 14 November 2009

Ancient Mesopotamia in Second Life

A truly imaging place Ancient Mesopotamia in Second Life

On a day when Stephen Hawking's NASA speech was broadcast into Second Life, Schmilsson and I are
still getting over the astonishment of having discovered remnants of Ancient
Mesopotamia in that same virtual world. Pictured above is Inanna, the goddess of
passion--war and fertility—the most important female figure in the Sumerian

Unlike a lot in Second Life this is a proper reconstruction. It proves a great deal of information


The image of Inanna (also known as Ishtar) was created and
designed based upon a variety of sources. An actual image of a deity has never
been recovered. The most probable cause for this is the fact that the images
were made out of precious materials, which were eventually recycled or stolen.
Also, many images had a wooden core, which disintegrated over time.

Despite the lack of evidence, images did exist. There are written
records of them and they are often the subject of art work. Also, during
Herodutus’s visit to Babylon, he was told of a large idol in the top most shrine
of the city’s ziggurat. The image described in the book of Daniel may also
allude to one of these images. It is possible a larger-than–life-sized golden
ear found at Mari is part of an image.

The idol was not easy to
reconstruct. Complete images of Inanna from early periods do not exist. Cylinder
seals and statues from various time periods were used as references
(Figures 1, 2, & 3). We tried to find something that we thought looked
Inanna/Ishtar like and then began filling in the details. The Warka mask (figure
4) has been speculated to possibly have been used as the face of the image, so
that was used for the idol’s face (with what we think the nose would have looked
like). We also used the partial head of a statue of the goddess Ningal for
reference. The idol’s red eyes are based upon this artifact (figure 5). The pose
is a typical Inanna/Ishtar pose.

The reconstruction’s foot rests upon
her symbol the lion and her horned head dress is based upon those found in most
iconography of deities. We dressed her in purple, which would have been a
precious material from the coasts of Lebanon. Her jewelry is based upon that
found in the royal tombs of Ur. The weapons on her back and in her hand are
based upon those found in art from the early periods of Mesopotamian history.
The body is made of alabaster.

Figure Sources:
Figure 1-Unknown
goddess. May be Ishtar. Terra-cota. Old Babylonian or Isin-Larsa period
(1900-1800 BCE). Black, Jeremy & Anthony Green. Gods Demons and
Symbols in Ancient Mesopotamia, University of Texas, 1995
Figure 2-
Ishtar, line drawing of a Cylinder seal. Akkadian (2300 BCE)From the collection
of the Oriental Institute, University of ChicagoBlack & Green, pg.
Figure 3-Unidentified goddess, most probable Inanna/Ishtar. Cylinder
Seal Impression. Probable Akkadian (3200 BCE).Kramer, Samuel Noah and Diane
Wolkstein. Inanna: Queen of Heaven and Earth, Harper and Row, 1985.
pg. 52
Figure 4-Warka Head (Mask), unknown goddess, white marble, 3000
BCE.From the colelction of the Baghdad Museum. Referenced from the Oriental
5-Ningal, Alabaster, 2100 BC.Lost Civilazitions Series, Sumer: Cities of Eden.
1993, pg. 142. From the collection of the University of

I remember being a student at University of Chicago going to the Oriental Institute Museum and I wished they had something like this to bring it alive back then.

Rober1236 Jua the Cyber Trekker of Second Life
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