Ancient Babylonian Art
The Babylonians were people who lived in ancient Mesopotamia, a region in the Ancient Near East on the upper eastern edge of the Arabian Peninsula around the Tigris and Euphrates rivers. It included much of present-day today Iraq.
Art and Law
How is Hammurabi connected to Babylonian art? He had his laws inscribed onto a stele, a column erected for memorial or ceremonial purposes.
This stele is a fascinating combination of art, literature, and law. It was done in cuneiform writing, a series of slashes and symbols cut into the stone with a sharp angled tool. At the stele’s top, a relief sculpture (raised from the surface but attached in the back) depicts the king receiving the laws from the seated Shamash, one of the powerful gods of the ancient world.
Babylonian Clay Art
The Babylonian people used materials available to them to make art, including baked clay tempered (made stronger and more durable) with binding materials like straw. They built buildings of clay bricks, and they made many clay tablets that held official decrees written in cuneiform. Other clay tablets and reliefs told the epic story of Gilgamesh, an ancient cultural hero and a character everyone at the time would have known.