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Home > Auctions > 22nd February 2022 > Unique Old Babylonian Cuneiform Tablet with Hymn about King Shulgi

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LOT 0163

Estimate
GBP (£) 5,000 - 7,000
EUR (€) 6,000 - 8,400
USD ($) 6,810 - 9,530

Opening Bid
£4,500 (EUR 5,402; USD 6,126) (+bp*)

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Bid History: 0

Unique Old Babylonian Cuneiform Tablet with Hymn about King Shulgi

c.2070 BC

A lentoid-section clay tablet, roughly rectangular in plan with Shulgi text to both faces, accompanied by a copy of a typed and signed scholarly note by the late W.G. Lambert, Professor of Assyriology at the University of Birmingham, 1970-1993, which states: 'This is an Old Babylonian copy of a Sumerian literary text, the tablet dating to c.1900-1700 B.C., the text being from c.2070 B.C. Not much of the obverse remains, but of the two columns on the reverse the first has a total of 31 lines, most complete, The [sic] second and last column on the reverse has 17 lines preserved, against [sic] most complete. The text is about king Shulgi, second ruler of the Third Dynasty of Ur, c.2095-2047 B.C. It reads like a hymn, and already some 23 Shulgi hymns or hymnic compositions are known, though some from mere fragments. This one seems to be new, without parallel in published material. These hymns are characterised by very flowery language, which makes them difficult to translate, and this one is no exception. The following provisional translation of some lines from column I on the reverse gives some indication of the new material contained: 'He took control (?) of the whole of the Mardu-land. Shulgi, for the sake of Dur-an-ki, avenged Enil on the mountain. Upper and lower sea put in my hand silver and lapis of theirs.' This is important new Shulgi material.' 196 grams, 12.7cm (5"). Fair condition. Believed to be unique and unpublished.

Provenance
Specialised collection of cuneiform texts, the property of a London gentleman and housed in London before 1992.
Thence by descent to family members.
Examined by Professor Wilfrid George Lambert FBA (1926-2011), historian, archaeologist, and specialist in Assyriology and Near Eastern archaeology, in the late 1980s and early 1990s.
This small collection is exceptional for the variety of types, including some very rare and well preserved examples.
Accompanied by a copy of a typed and signed scholarly report with translation by Professor Wilfrid George Lambert.
This lot has been checked against the Interpol Database of stolen works of art and is accompanied by AIAD certificate number no.11066-184882.