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HOME : Near Eastern Art : Cuneiform Tablets : Old Babylonian Clay Cuneiform Tablet
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Old Babylonian Clay Cuneiform Tablet - RP.135
Origin: Mesopotamia
Circa: 2050 BC to 1950 BC
Dimensions: 10.5" (26.7cm) high x 8.6" (21.8cm) wide
Collection: Near Eastern Art
Style: Babylonian
Medium: clay

Additional Information: K

Location: UAE
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Cuneiform is the oldest known written language first used by the ancient peoples of the Near East over 5000 years ago. It is composed of a series of wedge-shaped incisions made with a sharpened reed stylus. The script was adopted by each major civilization of Mesopotamia for recording their distinct languages. Such civilizations include the Sumerians, Akkadians, Assyrians, and Babylonians. Clay tablets were the preferred media for everyday writing because they could either be easily recycled or, if a permanent record was required, fired in a kiln and preserved. The earliest recorded inscriptions are not myths or histories but accounting documents and economic lists.

This terracotta tablet shows how meticulous cuneiform script was. A scribe would be able to fit a remarkable amount of information into a relatively small space while still allowing it to remain legible. Both the front and back of this tablet have been written on, with each surface divided into multiple columns. Each of these registers is filled with inscription, in effect creating multiple “pages” of information on a single side of the tablet.

A cuneiform tablet today provides valuable insight into the domestic affairs of the ancient Babylonians while also serving as an astounding example of the aesthetically refined cuneiform script.

- (RP.135)


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