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Uruk vase

In addition to being the first carved narrative in history, the Uruk Vase (a.k.a. the وركاء‎ Warka Vase) is the earliest instance of enduring Mesopotamian motifs such as the rhetoric of abundance and the ruler as a liaison to the gods.

At 90 cm high, the vase has three registers of relief which, though the offers are finely detailed, lacks plastic rendering and thus the humans are merely stereotyped figurines. At the top, the goddess Inanna appears before her perpetual symbol, two reed bundles with loops and streamers. She is tailed by minor deities and a plethora of offerings including two vases shaped like the Uruk Vase itself. Appearing before Inanna is a nude priest offering a basket of produce, and behind him is likely the king.

Below this register are naked priests with further offerings, and in the third register down is a dual registers of livestock and grains. By means of a religious narrative, the Uruk Vase reveals the ideal relationship between the city rulers and the gods as one that brings abundance to the land. The bottom register of animals and plants, endlessly looping as though infinitely plentiful, is only possible because the city ruler and the priests have sated Inanna with comestibles and goods.

A well-known stone vase from Warka, 90 cm high has three registers of figures very finely carved in relief. Above, the goddess Inanna appears in front of two reed bundles terminated in loops and streamers, which are her perpetual symbol, and a ritually naked priest offers her a basket of fruit. Behind this the relief is damaged, but a small fragment remains of a figure which may well be that of a 'king' or leader, and an attendant supports the tasselled girdle which he is perhaps about to present. Inanna is supported by minor deities, mounted on model temples and appropriate beasts, with other symbols including a pair of vases like that on which they are carved. In the second register, naked priests bring further offerings and in the third, beasts and plants represent her two 'kingdoms. Another sacred symbol present here, is the stylized rosette with eight petals. Lloyd, p 57-58