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Kassite Art

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Kassite Art

The Kassites ruled from ca. 1531BCE until 1155BCE. The empire was ruled from the city of Dur-Kurigalzu, and then probably Babylon after the Kassites took over Babylonia. Most of the art remaining from this period consists of Kudurru and pottery shards, although a few other artifacts of glass and seal impressions have been found. The motifs that appear on these works are often reminiscent of Babylonian and Assyria art.

Contents

Kudurru

Kudurru are boundary stones used by several Middle Eastern empires, including the Kassites, to mark property edges. They were mainly made out of stone. The Warwick Kudurru depicts a man with a curling beard. He is shown standing in a posture that is often seen in Egyptian art, with the head in profile, the chest posed frontally, and the legs in profile. The embroidery on his tunic has rosettes, lionesses, linear designs, and sacred trees, imagery that can be seen in the art of the Babylonian and Assyrian Empires. Kassite relief carvings show imagery of gods, goddesses, and human/bull creatures. Kassite deities were usually shown with triangular or horned headdresses, and were often placed around cuneiform inscriptions.

Ceramics

The Kassites produced a substantial amount of pottery. These pieces were generally made for functional purposes or burial goods. Many small pottery kilns, generally no bigger than 2 meters in diameter with domed tops, were found in the Babylonian city of Dilbat. Goblets and wavy sided bowls are commonly found in Kassite pottery deposits. Other ceramic goods, such as traps for small animals and vessels commonly thought to be fruit stands were found also.

Glass Works

Remnants of two Kassite glass beakers were found in the ruins of Hasanlu, in northwest Iran. The site was burned to the ground in the later part of the ninth century BCE, preserving many objects often lost in other sites, after the end of the Kassite rule. The glassworks found inside one of the structures had been preserved from the Kassite era as precious keepsakes, based on the richness of the other artifacts found alongside the glass fragments. The building the pieces were found in has been determined to be a temple, and it is theorized that the glass beakers were utilized in ritual and devotional practices.

The imagery on these beakers includes commonly used motifs in Kassite art. On Beaker A male figures in rich robes are depicted parading around the middle section. They have large, blue beards and tall hats on the figures that could be markers of the divine or royal. Beneath this line of figures, separated by a line of geometric patterns, is the depiction of two horned quadrupeds facing a central plant. This motif is often seen in other works that were used as dedicatory or ritual practice in the Kassite religion (see also: Kassite Deities). The panes of glass used to create these images were very brightly colored, and closer analysis has revealed that they were bright blue, white, and red-orange.

The process of making pieces such as these would have required high levels of specialization in glass crafting. These pieces were made to look like mosaics using molds and carefully controlled kilns.

Seal Impressions

Seals were used widely across the Near Eastern kingdoms during the Kassite rule. They were used to mark official items and ownership. The images created by these seals were unique to each seal, but many shared the same subject matter. Bearded men, religious symbols, horned quadrupeds, and fauna are often shown in these images. The seals were generally made of stone, glass, or clay. The images were made by stamping or rolling the seals into wet clay. The Kassites made these seals using tools and techniques such as bow-driven lapidary wheels, abrasives, micro flaking, drilling, and filing.

References

Kassite Art Wikipedia


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