Detroit Institute of Arts

Gudea of Lagash. Ruler of the small Sumerian city-state of Lagash, Gudea (c. 2136–2121B.C.) was a pious leader and strong administrator in a time of peace and prosperity, according to inscriptions. His reign produced some of the finest sculpture and literature in the Sumerian repertoire. Standing 16 1/8 inches high, this paragonite statue is one of at least 30 statues of Gudea that the ruler commissioned. The cuneiform inscription on his bare right shoulder identifies Gudea and some of his pious building-activities.