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Protoliterate Tablet
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Protoliterate Tablet

Description Exhibitions Provenance Inscription Credit
Description From a unique group of early documents recording the transfer of land (in this case one "b'uru"- about 150 acres), this tablet illustrates the transition from a writing system based on pictures to one where signs represent sounds. The vase and foot are easily recognized but represent sounds rather than objects. In the bottom row, the two wavy lines sprouting plants is the sign for garden.
  • In Search of Ancient Treasure: 40 Years of Collecting. The Walters Art Gallery, Baltimore. 1978.
  • Highlights from the Collection. The Walters Art Gallery, Baltimore. 1998-2001.
Provenance Sadie Jones (Mrs. Henry Walters), New York [date and mode of acquisition unknown]; Sale, Joseph Brummer, New York, 1941; Walters Art Museum, 1941, by purchase.
Inscriptions [Inscription] On obverse [For transcription, see]
Credit Museum purchase, 1941

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ca. 3100-2900 BC (Late Uruk; Early Dynastic I-II)
red stone
Accession Number
H: 2 5/8 x W: 2 5/8 x 7/8 in. (6.6 x 6.6 x 2.3 cm)


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