Brick Fragments

By Iris Fernandez

What do you see when you look at these fragments? Can you imagine the larger work of art to which these pieces belonged?

These fragments of molded and glazed brick originally formed a monumental composition on the walls of the Inshushinak Temple at Susa in modern-day Iran--one of the earliest examples of the techniques later utilized on the Ishtar Gate. This architectural feature consisted of several repeating images of the Middle Elamite king, Shilhak-Inshushinak, “king of Anshan and Susa,” and his queen. Although the panels are not completely preserved, it is clear that the figures were depicted in a static, but strong and regal pose: their torsos facing the viewer, hands folded, while their heads and feet were turned in profile.

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The fragment seen on the right represents the hand of a queen, holding a flower. The piece on the left is a fragment of the royal inscription band that ran across the bodies of the figures at hip-level.

Check out our story for an image of the larger work of art.

Fragmentary bricks with a cuneiform inscription and with the hand of a queen
Middle Elamite Period, Shutrukid Dynasty (reign of Shilhak-Inshushinak, ca. 1150–1120 BCE)
Molded and glazed siliceous material
Inshushinak Temple, Apadana Mound, Susa, Iran
H. 10.1 cm; W. 13.5 cm; D. 10.5 cm and H. 10.5 cm; W. 11.6 cm; D. 10.4 cm
Musée du Louvre, Paris, Département des Antiquités orientales: Sb 11481 and Sb 726
© Musée du Louvre, Dist. RMN-Grand Palais / Raphael Chipault / Art Resource, NY