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01/23/2020 06:00 PM ISAW Lecture Hall
Ishtar Gate Lion, Babylon, Iraq

Brick by Brick: Technical Considerations on Building the Ishtar Gate and Processional Way

Exhibition Lecture

Sarah Graff and Jean-Francois de Laperouse

This lecture takes the form of a conversation between a conservator and curator on the technical aspects of making bricks in the form of animals for the Ishtar Gate and Processional Way. We will reconstruct the process of how the bricks were made and assembled. Close observation of the composition of the animals reveals that the craftspeople made deliberate choices about how to lay out these images across a grid of bricks. These choices were not based in a desire to streamline the working process or economize on labor and materials, but rather were motivated by a preference for symmetry and for minimizing the visual interference of the brick grid on the pictorial elements of the composition. We will end with a look at the monumental task of reconstructing the panels after the fragments arrived in Berlin.
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