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ENHEDUANA'S VISUAL EVIDENCE

The Alabaster Disk : Restored and Unrestored

The relief depicts Enheduana, standing behind a nude priest who is pouring a libation over a plant stand in front of a stepped structure. She is raising her right hand. This hand gesture can be found on most ritual scenes involving a deity. It has been coined "touching the nose" and is a gesture of deep devotion. [This reference can be investigated in Mayer Gruber's dissertation]

In this restored version of the disk (photo on the left), she is wearing a cap over her braids, however,

in the unrestored version (photo on the right ) she is wearing a high conical hat-reminiscent of the high polos hats of the priestesses of Mari. To the right of Enheduana stands a priestess holding up a stick or wand and a priestess carrying a handled jug or ritual basketas mentioned in line 68 of nin-me-sara.

The translucent, white alabaster disk was discovered in 1926 by Sir Leonard Woolley. The inscription on the back alerted the world of Enheduanna's existence. The disk was found in several pieces; this heavily restored version can be seen at the University Museum in Philadelphia. The disk was intentionally defaced in antiquity but that must have happened after 1900 B.C. as an Old Babylonian tablet copy of the inscription has also been found in its entirety.

The Inscription on the back of the disk

This inscription has been updated here with Dr. Joan Westenholz's input. In the inscription a raised small d appears which I can't reproduce here, so she has suggested I write out the word "dingir" which is what the small d represents in Sumerian philological notation. "Dingir" is a divine determinative found before the name of a god or goddess. Here it appears before Nanna's name to indicate that Nanna the Moon God is being referred to rather than the moon, which is also called "nanna".

I am not able to reproduce some of the other notations, so for a more accurate rendition, please see Frayne, 1993.

Here are the first 4 lines of cuneiform.

1) en-h[]-du-an-na...........................En-h[]du-ana,
2) MUNUS.NUNUZ.ZI. dingir NANNA......zirru priestess of Nanna
3) dam-dingir nanna.............................. wife of the god Nanna,
4) dumu-................................................child

The inscription continues:

5) [sar-ru]-GI............................ of Sargon,
6) [ lugal]-............................... [king] of
7) [KIS]................................... the world (Kish),
8) [-dingir INAN]NA.ZA.ZA..................... in [the temple of the goddess Inan]na- ZA.ZA
9) [ur]i.KI-ma-ka...................... in [U]r,
10) [bara]-si-ga........................ made a [soc]le (and)
11) [b]-e-d
12) bra bansur-an-na...........named it: 'dais, table of the god An (or heaven)'
13) mu-s bi-sa


Seal #1: Adda, Enheduana's major- domo

This seal belonged to Enheduana's major domo, estate supervisor-- perhaps her "right-hand man". It depicts a bull attacked by a lion and a typical Kish hero armed with dagger. Enkidu, dagger in hand, and a bison. A second bison rampant. This is a mythological animal with the human face, splendid beard, and triple belt of Enkidu. Below the cartouche two small crossed lions. The Kish hero is a landmark in art. His flat cap, long hair and beard, and embroidered loin- cloth are here connected with the Sargonid period, but he is found before the time of Sargon, and is more properly traced back to the Pre-Akkadian school of Kish. The composition is simple and strong. Each figure is drawn separately on an open field.

The inscription reads as follows:

1) ad-da.............................. Adda,
2) ugula-/sbra............... estate supervisor/majordomo
3) en-h-du-an-na.............of En-hedu-ana

The seal is made of black and white diorite and bears the excavation no.U 9178. It measures 3.7cm in length with its copper caps. It was found loose in the soil of the Royal Cemetary at Ur at a depth of about 3.4m. [Frayne,1993]

Seal #2: X-kitus-du, Enheduana's scribe :

The seal depicts buffalo under a cartouche, and two crossed bulls. The water- buffalo with slanting lines on his horns is another landmark in art of the Sargonid period. The seal was rolled on sides and back and the complete scene (not shown here) showed the bulls attacked by the lion and the Kish hero. [Legrain, Archaic Seals Impressions, UET vol III, p.358]

The seal impression was found on a sealing, not the cylinder seal itself. It has the excavation no U 11684. The piece, which measures 4.2x2.5x2 cm, was found loose in the upper soil of the Royal Cemetary at Ur. [Frayne, 1993]

The inscription reads:
1)[en]-h-[du]-[an]-na.....................[En]-he[du]-ana
2)[dumu-sa]r-ru-GI.................... child of Sargon
3)[x]-ki-tus-du...................................[x]-kitus-du,
4)[dub-s]ar..........................................[scri]be, (is) [h]er [servant].
5)[ir-da-n]i




Seal #3: Enheduana's coiffeur

This seal is made of lapis lazuli seal and was found broken and incomplete, only 2 fragments being found in the grave PG/503, lying apart, and the gold caps belonging to it also apart. It bears the excavation no. U 8988.

The scene depicts a Kish hero, lion rampant, bison, and other animals.

The half-preserved inscription reads:

1) en-h-du-an-na................ En-hedu-ana
2) dumu-sar-ru-GI.................child of Sargon:
3) DINGIR-IGI.D[U]................. Ilum-pal[il]is her coiffeur
4) kinda-[ni] [(x)]


*** A new seal has been discovered with Enheduanna's name on it.



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To the Bibliography Roadmap
To Enheduana's Writings

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