The Louvre, everywhere you look there’s something amazing series, 3

As we were making our way back to the front door of the Louvre, we came across this. I believe it’s the Department of Near Eastern Antiquities: Mesopotamia and this statue is called “The Broad Shoulders dedicated to the Goddess Ba’u.” I believe it is 2120 B.C. My info is a bit scarce on this, but I think this is from the time of the ruler Gudea (2144 – 2124 BC) of the state of Lagash in southern Mesopotamia. The inscriptions describe trade, rulership and religion. You can find translations of the inscriptions of Gudea here: sacred texts.

Here’s an interesting highlight from Wikipedia: The social reforms instituted during Gudea’s rulership, which included the cancellation of debts and allowing women to own family land, may have been honest reform or a return to old Lagašite custom.

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The Louvre, everywhere you look there’s something amazing, 2

In trying to find the info that went with this room, I discovered that I put the wrong info on the room about Darius. The Assyrians were this room, not the Darius room. I fixed that post (The Louvre, everywhere you look there’s something amazing, 1); sorry for the confusion. Time stamps are really helpful for museum photo forensics.

Here is the info again, this time associated with the correct room, one that we found while trying to find our way back from the long excursion to The Code of Hammurabi.

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The next one looks a little odd with the corners because I tried to rotate it and then ended up with with empty corners. Picasa has a great horizon leveling tool, but it was doing other things on my computer that I didn’t like, so I removed it. Haven’t quite figured out how to do the same thing in GIMP. But take a look at the shape of the doorway in the background. It’s shaped like an urn. I didn’t notice it when we walked through this room, only just noticed it now in processing the photos.

 

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Paris, The Louvre, and The Code of Hammurabi

A recent discussion in the blogosphere about contracts reminded me of a real highlight at The Louvre: The Code of Hammurabi. We walked our legs off, following the nearly incomprehensible map of the Louvre and tromping for what felt like miles through rooms of antiquities so complete it was like walking through slices of history. (More later on those rooms!)

Ah, but The Code of Hammurabi, standing supreme in its room, is well worth the effort.

The Code of Hammurabi
The Code of Hammurabi

The Code of Hammurabi is one of the earliest written laws, dating back to the Old Babylonian period. According to Wikipedia:

…dating back to about 1772 BC. It is one of the oldest deciphered writings of significant length in the world.  … Nearly one-half of the Code deals with matters of contract, establishing, for example, the wages to be paid to an ox driver or a surgeon. 

Of course, its translation at the museum is into French. I did try to read it, but my French is very weak and I didn’t pick up on how much was devoted to contract law.

Code of Hammurabi translation to French

There are a lot of things wrong with my society. Probably there always will be. Hopefully different things because hopefully we will continue to evolve into an enlightened society. Seriously, can we get there already? But this relic made me stop and appreciate living in a society governed by law. Even if some of the laws seem about as outdated to me as the ones chiseled on this stone, and other laws we need don’t yet exist, we all basically agree there is law and, for the most part, we all follow the law. A civil society order affords the freedom to live, have property, not to be property, and to know what to expect. And this big rock did the same thing for the Babylonians. There in the center of town for all to see, it listed the rules and the punishments for breaking those rules.

The institutions of law compose a fundamental basis for a fair society. And a fair society is one that thrives.

Code of Hammurabi detail

(Wikipedia is worth checking out on this topic. There’s an earlier set of laws, for example, called The Code of Ur-Nammu, from a city-state called Ur in Mesopotamia. I just love all the words. Ur. Mesopotamia. Ur’s patron deity was Nanna (god of the moon). I want to write a story about Nanna and the king of Ur.)

Snaps of Paris 2

Saint-Pierre de Chaillot
Saint-Pierre de Chaillot
Saint-Pierre de Chaillot
Saint-Pierre de Chaillot
Across from Palais Japonais
Across from Palais Japonais
Across from Palais Japonais
Across from Palais Japonais
A store for pistachios
A store for pistachios
Sculpture by Cezanne outside Louvre
Sculpture by Cezanne outside the Louvre
Small horses in Champs de Mars
Small horses in Champs de Mars
Skyline view from Louvre grounds
Skyline view from Louvre grounds

Sculpture of Paris series 2, the sculpture room

There is a lot of sculpture in the  Louvre, in various historical contexts. Then there’s just “The Sculpture Room.” When you walk in, you will be struck by the airy, light-filled space, which is large enough to artfully display many classical sculptures. It is breathtaking and utterly pleasing to the senses. There it is,  sculptures you’ve seen throughout your life, in books, all assembled with space enough around them for you to circle them and admire them from every angle, with light flooding in through traditional, palace windows. It is a magnificent display and deeply gratifying to walk into it, to experience the totality first, and then to linger over the descriptions, pause for photos, walk through the giant reproduction of a palace gate and look back across the room again from an elevated position.

It was crowded at first but then it cleared out a lot and you could get a less observer-cluttered feel for the room.

The sculpture room 1

The sculpture room 2

The sculpture room 3

The sculpture room 4

The sculpture room 5

The sculpture room 6

The sculpture room 8

The sculpture room 9

We thought this was a bathtub, but it’s a sarcophagus.

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Unlike the Dutch, the French don’t translate the art descriptions into English. This says something like: Sarcophagus of something something and heads of a lion. Around 3rd Century A.D.  White marble. In the center, on something, a young man something, his arms protected by something, and so on.

Sarcophagus explanation 10

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Here the translation is easy. It’s a fragment of a frieze. The depiction of powerful movement, the draping fabric, and the effect of relief against that wall of a frieze, I found beautiful. Avant means before, so this is 445 B.C. Remember The Victory of Samothrace, with its flowing gown and powerful motion, typifies Hellenistic art (300 – 100 or so, BC). I just noticed in trying to translate the sign below that this frieze shows the beginning of that artistic exploration.

Explanation for 11

Another frieze. Looks a bit older, going by the above information. Just starting to depict fabric and movement.

The sculpture room 12

Bernini

Bernini explanation

Nia with Venus at end

Gate at the end

The sculpture room after it has cleared out a bit.

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