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HOME : Near Eastern Art : Archive : Neolithic Stone Ram
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Neolithic Stone Ram - PF.5611
Origin: Mesopotamia
Circa: 6000 BC to 4000 BC
Dimensions: 13.38" (34.0cm) high x 29.5" (74.9cm) wide
Catalogue: V29
Collection: Near Eastern
Style: Neolithic
Medium: Stone


Additional Information: Sold

Location: United States
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Description
The earliest works of art were created in order to assuage mankind’s fear of the unknown. Representations of gods and goddesses, be they human or animal in form, offered humans the illusion of some sort of control over their destinies. By praying and offering libations to a terracotta fertility goddess, an expecting mother could ensure a healthy delivery. By worshipping a stone effigy of an animal, a hunter could ensure a successful venture into the wilderness. Art, as the physical representation of religious and spiritual concepts, offered comfort and assurance of civilization’s continued survival and flourishing in a chaotic world where the whims of mother nature had drastic effects on humanities well-being, from ravenous plagues to bountiful harvests. As humanity began to shape the natural environment to soot its needs, such as agriculture, mankind sought to influence the forces of nature, from the weather to the animal kingdom. The domestication of certain wild animals was a natural result of this desire. The kindred spirits of animals, whose bodies provided us with nourishing food and grueling labor, became deities in the eyes and hearts of humans. For animals, who are inherently linked to nature, especially in the wild, may possess a special rapport with the gods of the earth and the sky that we humans lost over the ages. From the dawn of civilization and the first pages of recorded history, certain animals have been worshipped across all cultural boundaries: the bull, the lion, the ram. They were idols of power and strength that the ruling elite often sought to link themselves with. Sacrificing such a beast was among the greatest offering that could be presented to a deity. This Neolithic stone sculpture of a ram may be the representation of an actual deity who appears in the guise of this animal, or may have stood as a permanent offering in an ancient temple. Clearly it’s size and weight, and the durability of the material, all indicate that this work was intended to last throughout the ages, as it has. Might this ancient ram have once communicated the wishes of its lost creators to their forgotten gods? - (PF.5611)

 

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