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Art of the First Cities: The Third Millennium B.C. from the Mediterranean to the Indus

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This handsomely illustrated book highlights one of the most important and creative periods in the history of art: a time marked by the appearance of the city states of the Sumerians, the citadel of Troy, the splendid royal tombs at Ur, and the monumental cities at Mohenjodaro and Harappa. The volume examines the cultural achievements of these first urban societies, placing them in a historical context. Topics covered include the emergence of the first city states, the birth of written language, and trade and ...
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2003 Hardcover New 0300098839. Flawless copy, brand new, pristine, never opened--564 pp. With 760 ills. (556 col. ). 32 x 24 cm.

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Overview

This handsomely illustrated book highlights one of the most important and creative periods in the history of art: a time marked by the appearance of the city states of the Sumerians, the citadel of Troy, the splendid royal tombs at Ur, and the monumental cities at Mohenjodaro and Harappa. The volume examines the cultural achievements of these first urban societies, placing them in a historical context. Topics covered include the emergence of the first city states, the birth of written language, and trade and cultural interconnections between the ancient Near East and outlying areas. More than five hundred works of art, including sculpture, jewelry, vessels, weapons, cylinder seals, and tablets executed in a wide variety of materials such as stone, metal, clay, ivory, and semiprecious stones are included. The insightful texts are written by leading scholars in the field.

Author Biography: Joan Aruz is Curator in Charge in the Department of Ancient Near Eastern Art at The Metropolitan Museum of Art.

This book is the catalogue for an exhibition to be held at The Metropolitan Museum of Art from May 8 to August 17, 2003.

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Editorial Reviews

The New York Times
Dazzling works of art like the famous gold-and-lapis-lazuli rearing goat with a flowering plant from the great death pit at Ur join forces here with less well-known works of visual paradox. — Christopher Benfey
The Washington Post
These remnants of "the urban revolution represented by the formation of the cities of southern Mesopotamia" complement what Aruz says "must be looked upon as one of humanity's defining moments." — Dennis Drabelle
Publishers Weekly
A truly spectacular, groundbreaking exhibition of Near Eastern art and urbanism that is closing at New York's Metropolitan Museum of Art this month, Art of the First Cities gained additional poignancy following the looting of Iraq's National Archeological Museum and countless other sites. In Mesopotamia 5,000 years ago, what were probably the first cities arose, and their arts, particularly in metal and stone, were nothing short of stunning, often arrestingly modern in a manner quite different from later Egyptian art. Unfortunately, most of the 712 illustrations here (535 in color) are straight-ahead catalogue illustrations that fail to really capture the objects' allure, despite crisp printing. Big exceptions are the seals and cuneiform tablets, which are shown in extreme close-up, revealing terrific detail. Short, dispassionate essays by 50-plus experts from the Hermitage, the Louvre and the Met, brought together by Aruz and Wallenfels, curators at the Met of ancient Near Eastern art, summarize what is know about Uruk, Ur and other early cities, along with the pieces found there, from the copper "Striding Horned Demons" from 3800 B.C.E. Iran to a "Recumbent human-headed bull or bison" from Ur of circa 2000 B.C.E. Maps, detailed chronologies and a massive bibliography round out this first book and exhibit to cover the whole region during this crucial period; it should serve as a fine summation for scholars and curious lovers of art and urbanism. (Aug.) Forecast: Recent revelations that at least four pieces in the exhibition and book are of questionable provenance (they were all borrowed and not part of the Met's permanent collection) should keep Art of the First Cities an object of debate within the museum community, if not in the news. Look for references to the exhibit and book as discussions continue about Iraqi artifacts. Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.
Library Journal
Aruz (curator, ancient Near Eastern art, Metropolitan Museum of Art), along with many other curators and scholars, spent the last several years arranging this monumental summer 2003 exhibition in New York City. Museums and collectors from all over the world loaned items, but the current political situation barred the involvement of the ancient Mesopotamian area itself, that is, modern Iraq. Despite that absence, Aruz shows that a wealth of art and artifacts has survived from the formative millennium. Luxury artifacts in gold, silver, copper, ivory, lapis lazuli, and other precious materials-such as the famous Ur treasures now at the University of Pennsylvania-are discussed in detail, as are small-scale narrative scenes from seal impressions, stone sculptures, cuneiform tablets, and other objects. These are amply presented in 712 illustrations (564 in color). Contributions by more than 50 scholars add dimension, and useful maps place ancient and modern localities in context. These maps also visually emphasize the truly panoramic aspect of this catalog and its numerous essays: in the third millennium B.C.E., trade and other relationships extended in all directions to and from the origins of the first cities in the Tigris and Euphrates area. Recommended for academic and public libraries both for its high quality and for its particular relevance in this millennium.-Anne Marie Lane, Univ. of Wyoming, Laramie Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780300098839
  • Publisher: Metropolitan Museum of Art
  • Publication date: 5/20/2003
  • Series: Metropolitan Museum of Art Series
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Pages: 564
  • Product dimensions: 9.40 (w) x 12.30 (h) x 1.60 (d)

Table of Contents

Director's Foreword
Acknowledgments
Acknowledgments
Contributors to the Catalogue
Lenders to the Exhibition
Chronology
Map
Note to the Reader
Art of the First Cities: The Third Millennium B.C. from the Mediterranean to the Indus
Uruk and the Formation of the City
Art of the Early City-States
The Proto-Elamite Period
Fara
Excavations in the Diyala Region
Stone Sculpture Production
Nippur
Tello (Ancient Girsu)
Metalworking Techniques
Al Ubaid
Kish
The Royal Tombs of Ur
The Tomb of Puabi
The Great Death Pit at Ur
Mari and the Syro-Mesopotamian World
The Treasure of Ur from Mari
Ebla and the Early Urbanization of Syria
Tell Umm el-Marra
Tell Banat
Art of the Akkadian Dynasty
Lost-Wax Casting
Tell Mozan (Ancient Urkesh)
Tell Brak in the Akkadian Period
Art and Interconnections in the Third Millennium B.C.
Egypt and the Near East in the Third Millennium B.C.
The Aegean and Western Anatolia: Social Forms and Cultural Relationships
The Early Bronze Age Jewelry Hoard from Kolonna, Aigina
Troy
Poliochni and the Civilization of the Northeastern Aegean
The Central Anatolian Plateau: The Tombs of Alaca Hoyuk
The North Caucasus
The Maikop (Oshad) Kurgan
Novosvobodnaya
Susa: Beyond the Zagros Mountains
The Gulf: Dilmun and Magan
Copper Alloys and Metal Sources
Tell Abraq
The Island of Tarut
"Intercultural Style" Carved Chlorite Objects
Pathways across Eurasia
Altyn-depe
Gonur-depe
The Indus Civilization
Baluchistan
Cities of the Indus Valley
Beads of the Indus Valley
Approaching the Divine: Mesopotamian Art at the End of the Third Millennium B.C.
The Rediscovery of Gudea Statuary in the Hellenistic Period
The Earliest Scholastic Tradition
Uruk and the World of Gilgamesh
The Mesopotamian Legacy: Origins of the Genesis Tradition
App Problems of Third-Millennium-B.C. Chronology
Bibliography
Index
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