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Art From Us MUSEUM GUIDE : The Metropolitan Museum of Art : Gallery 403

The MET : Gallery 403 : Cities, States, and Early Empires: The Ancient Near East

Art From Us, Museum Guide #601

Art From Us presents a must-see Museum Guide daily, where we showcase specific artworks in specific museums – from across the globe. Today, for Art From Us, Museum Guide #601 the spotlight is on the Metropolitan Museum of Art (the MET) NY’s Gallery 403. Showcasing a collection of Cities, States, and Early Empires: The Ancient Near East ca. 3000–1200 B.C.

The three works in focus are :

  1. Standing Male Worshiper, ca. 2900 – 2600 BC.
  2. Standard with Two Long-horned Bulls, ca. 3500 – 3100 BC.
  3. Reclining Mouflon, ca. 2600 – 1900 BC.

The significance of the 3 works chosen for Art From Us, Museum Guide #601

Welcome to the Art From Us, Museum Guide #601. Today we continue our journey into the heart of the Near East. The Metropolitan Museum of Art : Gallery 403 showcases the establishment and evolution of cities, states and empires in this ancient region. In keeping with this theme, we present to you following excerpts by Marc Van de Mieroop, who is a scholar on the subject. The following insights are from Mieroops’ book,  A History of the Ancient Near East ca. 3000-323 BC (2007) :

“The term “Near East” is not widely used today. It has survived in a scholar- ship rooted in the nineteenth century when it was used to identify the remains of the Ottoman empire on the eastern shores of the Mediterranean Sea. Today we say Middle East to designate this geographical area, but the two terms do not exactly overlap, and ancient historians and archaeologists of the Middle East continue to speak of the Near East…”

Mieroop further considers the process of city development in this region :

“…The city is a center in its geographical setting, the focal point both for its own inhabitants and for the people living in the countryside. It is this latter characteristic that allows us to ascertain the growth of cities in southern Mesopotamia in the fourth millennium. Starting in the Ubaid period, we can see an increase in the number of settlements there, with a beginning of differentiation in their size. Some may have had a small circle of subsidiary villages around them. Throughout the Near East, the end of the Ubaid period was characterized by a regression of the number of settlements, and some of the prominent sites were destroyed and abandoned. But in the early fourth millennium, with the start of the Uruk period, the number and size of sites vastly increased, especially in two regions of southern Mesopotamia – central and southern Babylonia.”

We invite you to continue the journey further into the Ancient Civilizations of the Near East, with Art From Us, Museum Guide #602. Next, we will explore the development of empires in the Near East.


Visit the Archive for Museum Guide

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