Cuneiform Tablet With Dedication

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Cuneiform Tablet With Dedication

2nd Millennium B.C.
H: 11.7cm



Rectangular in form, one convex side and one flat, with fourteen lines of Sumerian cuneiform on each side, recording the restoration of the Temple E-a-ga-ga-kilib-ur-ur for the goddess Ninegal by the wife of King Rim-Sin of Larsa, reading: “For the goddess Ninegal, great lady who holds all the me’s in her hands, who looks at the numerous people, supreme advisor who looks after the black-headed people, whose ways are not rivaled, aristocrat whose word excels in the assembly, whose name is noble enough for praise, reliable goddess from (her) father who engendered her, whose utterance is favourable, great daughter of the god Sin, her lady, Simat-Eshtar beloved spouse of Rim-Sin, King of Larsa, daughter of Warad-Nanna, when the goddess Ninegal, her lady, called her good name, she built for her E-a-ag-ga-kilib-ur-ur, the residence suitable for her divinity, to establish the life of Rim-Sin forever, and for her own life. She enlarged its e-shu-si-ga more than it had been previously. She placed there for the future her foundation inscription proclaiming her queenly name” Obverse 1. {d}nin-e2-gal 2. nin gal me kilib3 szu-na dab5-be2 3. ug3 szar2-ra-asz igi-bi gal2 4. na-de5 mah szita5-du3 sag-[ge6] 5. a-ra2-bi za3 nu-sa2 6. nir-gal2 ukken-na du11-ga-ni igi-sze3 du 7. mu-ni a-re-esz gi7 8. dingir zi ki a-a ugu-ni-ta 9. ka ba-ni sze-ga 10. dumu gal {d}suen-na 11. nin-a#-ni-ir 12. si#-ma-at-{d}inanna 13. dam ki-ag2 14. {d}ri-im-{d}suen Reverse 15. lugal larsa{ki}-ma 16. dumu-munus ARAD2-{d}nanna-ke4 17. u4 {d}nin-e2-gal nin-a-ne2 18. mu sa6-ga-ni in-sa4-a 19. e2 a2-ag2-ga2 kilib3 ur4-ur4 20. ki-tusz nam-dingir-bi-sze3 tum2-ma 21. nam-ti {d}ri-im-{d}suen 22. u4 da-ri2-sze3 gal2-le-de3 23. u3 nam-ti-la-ni-sze3 24. mu-na-du3 25. diri u4-bi-ta-sze3 26. e2-szu-si3-ga-bi mu-un-dagal 27. temen mu# pa3-da nam-nin-a-ka-na 28. u4 su13-ra2-sze3 im-mi-in-gar The Goddess Ninegal, was known as the "Queen of Heaven" and was later assimilated into Inanna in the Old Babylonian period, and further combined with the goddess Ishtar by the Akkadians to become Inanna-Ishtar. She was the patron goddess of the Eanna temple at the city of Uruk, which was her main cult centre. During the post-Sargonic era Ninegal became one of the most widely venerated deities in the Sumerian pantheon, with temples across Mesopotamia. As Inanna-Ishtar she appears in more myths than any other Sumerian deity.


Douglas R. Frayne, Royal Inscriptions of Mesopotamia, Early Period, Toronto and London 1990 (RIME, pp. 293–94
Antiquities sale, Christie’s, New York, 4 June 2015, lot 115
David Aaron Ltd, 2021, No. 5.
Recorded in the CDLI database ( as no. P480740


Previously with Elias S. David (1891–1969), New York, from at least 1969 (possibly documented in 1966)
Thence by descent
Sold at: Antiquities, Christie’s, New York, 4 June 2015, lot 115
Paris art market, acquired at the above sale
Private Collection, acquired from the above.
ALR: S00200430.

Note on the Provenance

Elias S. David (1891-1969) was one of the most prominent dealers of ancient Near Eastern art during the mid-20th century. David was born in the east, likely Lebanon or Iraq, and was sent to Paris at the age of 12. He first began dealing in art while in Paris, and then moved to New York at the start of World War I in 1914. While he briefly had a gallery, he preferred to work from home. Many masterpieces passed through his hands and are now in some of the great museums of the world, including the Louvre, the Metropolitan Museum of Art and the Cleveland Museum of Art. He had a wide circle of friends in the art world, including fellow dealer Piero Tozzi, scholar Edith Porada, and collectors such as Natacha Rambova, Leon Pomerance, Norbert Schimmel and Alastair Bradley Martin.

Charles K. Wilkinson, curator of Near Eastern Art at the Met from 1956-1963, was a frequent dinner guest at the David home, Correspondence between Wilkinson and others at the Met from the 1940s-1960s not only documents his activities as a dealer, but informs how his generosity towards the museum lead to his being honoured as a Fellow of the Museum for life, a privilege which was extended to his wife after his death in 1969. Most of the collection that was passed on to his family he passed was appraised by Tozzi in the early 1970s and kept in storage for approximately 40 years.