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Priest-King or Deity

Priest-King or Deity

c. 1600 BC

Basalt with bone eyes (left, ancient; right, restored)

Overall: 87.6 cm (34 1/2 in.)

Leonard C. Hanna, Jr. Fund 1971.45

Fun Fact

The left eye of the sculpture is the original bone inlay while the right eye is a modern restoration done after the piece was damaged.

Description

The Hittites migrated into Anatolia in the 3rd millennium BC and spoke an Indo-European language, a group that includes Greek, Latin, Persian, Sanskrit, English, and most modern European languages. They were the first ancient people to use iron for weapons. From about 1600–1200 BC their empire was at its peak, extending from central Anatolia to Syria, and south along the eastern Mediterranean. Their vast empire and interest in commerce enabled the Hittites to spread Mesopotamian ideas and culture throughout the ancient Mediterranean world. This large basalt sculpture is exceptionally rare in depicting a Hittite god or priest-king wearing a horned conical crown, false beard, and long robe. He holds a bowl in his right hand and once held something in his left, perhaps a staff or sword.

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