Tuesday, September 08, 2020

Destruction of Hasanlu in northwest Iran

 The site of Hasanlu was extensively excavated from 1957–77 as part of a general investigation into the archaeology of the Ushnu-Solduz Valley in northwestern Iran, a joint venture of the Penn Museum, the Metropolitan Museum of Art of New York City, and the Archaeological Service of Iran. The site has deposits dating back some 8,000 years to Neolithic times, however, the Iron Age levels, beginning around 1250 BCE, are the best understood.

The settlement portion of Hasanlu was dramatically destroyed (ca. 800 BCE) leaving a burned and body-strewn destruction level. The conflagration is thought to have happened in late summer based on plant remains. The people who remained in the buildings on the High Mound, including women and children, were completely wiped out by violence and fire. Most seem to have been left where they were killed in the streets and in buildings, which then collapsed on their bodies because of the fire. The people who remained at Hasanlu did have weapons and horses at their disposal. Large collections of various types of weapons were found in several of the buildings, possibly in storage areas. However, the bodies strewn all over the city indicate that the end was swift and violent.  This is the site where the famous Hasanlu Lovers, a pair of skeletons in a bin of plaster-covered mudbrick in 1972 were found. The two lie facing each other with one reaching out with its right hand to touch the face of the other.

Read more about this fascinating site here:


Image: Kohl box in the shape of an elongated figure wearing a helmet (?) and cape (?), Hasanlu Period IV Bronze (ca. 800 BCE). The body expands outward to a flat base supported by four human-shod feet although one is missing.  Image courtesy of the Penn Museum.

Monday, August 31, 2020

“Kings of the Sun” in Prague, Czech Republic through February 7, 2021

The exhibition, "Kings of the Sun", which will run until Feb. 7, 2021, will display 90 artifacts unearthed by the Czech archaeological mission working on the site of Abu Sir in Egypt's Giza governorate. Chief among these treasures is the head of a statue of King Ra-Nefer-F produced around the year 2460 BCE. Abu-Sir is a royal burial ground with three pyramids built during the Fifth Dynasty. The display will encompass artifacts from the 3rd to the 1st millennium BCE and include an extensive collection of statues from the tombs of Princess Sheretnebty and the scribe Nefer discovered in 2012. Statues of a writer, senior statesmen, and royal staff as well as canopic jars, and Faience ushabti figurines will be presented.

Image: Old Kingdom statue of an Egyptian couple from the exhibit "Kings of the Sun" courtesy of Egypt's Ministry of Tourism and Antiquities.

Wednesday, August 26, 2020

Chinese and Japanese art at the Penn Museum

 Yesterday I finished editing and uploading my images of the University of Pennsylvania Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology (Penn Museum)'s Chinese and Japanese Art on display in their Asian galleries to Wikimedia Commons.  These are high resolution images suitable for both print and digital applications and I only require attribution for their use. The Penn Museum's Asian collection ranges from bronze vessels of the Zhou Period (1046-256 BCE) to sculptures of the Qing Dynasty (1644 to 1912 CE).  Most objects on display at the time of my visit in 2015 are related to Buddhism in some form.


I'm now working on my images of their ancient Egyptian collection and will begin uploading those soon.  Most of my images of their spectacular objects from ancient Mesopotamia including the death pit of Ur have been uploaded from my Flickr account by another Wikipedia editor:


A small sampling of the Penn Museum's Asian Art:

Female Guardian Lioness Cloisonne 17th century CE Qing Dynasty possibly from Beijing China

Lokapala Tang Dynasty 618-907 CE Henan Province China. A lokapala is a warrior, or one of the four Heavenly Kings who guard the four directions of the universe.

Unglazed pottery funerary figurines of horses Tang Dynasty (618-907 CE) China

Sakyamuni Buddha Dry Lacquer Yuan Dynasty (1271-1368 CE) China

Silver death mask of the Liao Dynasty (907-1124 CE) Shanxi Province China

Luohan monk earthernware with Sancai decoration Liao or Jin Period from a cave hear Yizhou Hebei Province China. This Luohan wears an outer garment called the jiasa, which is draped to purposely show the right shoulder and arm, revealing the green undergarment, a symbol that he is trying to help save sentient beings.

Monju, the bodhisattva of wisdom's lion from a Shingon Temple altar Japan late 19th century CE

Bodhisattva Guanyin recovered from a river near Mukden Manchuria in 1918. A small figure of Amitabha Buddha appears at the base of the high crown headdress. Liao China 10th century CE

Wooden figure of Guanyin from the Song Period (960-1279 CE) China

Wooden Seitaka attendant of Fudo from Koyasan Temple, Kyoto Japan 19th century CE

Wooden Kangara attendant of Fudo from Koyasan Temple, Kyoto, Japan 19th century CE

Zen Buddhist figure of a seated Patriarch or Monk 18-19th century Japan