Sumerian Great Lyre



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bull lyre
Sumerian Great Lyre
found at the Royal Tombs of Ur (Royal Cemetary) University of Pennsylvania Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology
bull lyre panel
Detail from front panel

The Great Lyre is one of the greatest treasures of the Royal Tombs of Ur from ancient Mesopotamia. It is made of gold, silver, lapis lazuli, shell, bitumen, and wood.The front panel, partially under the beard, shows a nearly nude bearded male figure holding two rearing human-headed bulls in the top section, and below are three ritualistic scenes from a funeral banquet: a butchering hyena, an ass playing a lyre, and a scorpion-man. The combination of human and animal features are religious in nature.


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Mesopotamia

The Epic of Gilgamesh

The Flood Myth

Ancient Near East

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