MosaicBlues: The Standard of Ur .entry-content { font-size:25px !important; }

Friday, June 10, 2016

The Standard of Ur

I was so excited to visit the British Museum last week. I did not have much time and had to hurry through a few rooms mostly Western European, Mediterranean and Middle Eastern antiquities...

Now sometimes you hear, and see pictures of famous pieces of Art, and you think you know a lot about them, like the Mona Lisa, the Parthenon, the Eiffel Tower, but when you actually SEE them with your own eyes, it's different, because you can actually relate to them. One point that has often surprised me is that I had false assumptions about the size of the work, or object.

I remember waking toward the Pont du Gard once - an aqueduct built by the Romans during the 1st century, and realizing how enormous that bridge was. Or when I went to see the Girl with the Pearl Earring in Atlanta a few years ago. I realized how small this paining was...

So I had heard about the Standard of Ur for a long time, I had even blogged about it a while ago, and I had imagined that piece much bigger than it actually is. 

The four sides are decorated with inlaid mosaic scenes made from shell, red limestone and Lapis Lazuli set in Bitumen.

The 2 main panels display War and Peace at the time of Sumer.

On the "War" panel the king stands in the middle taller than any other figure, his head projecting out of the frame to emphasize his supreme status. 

On the "Peace" panel he sits on a carved stool attending a Banquet, faced by other participants, holding cups raised in their right hand. It could be the banquet celebrating victory over other kingdoms.

Here is a short video I shot of this remarkable piece I was so happy to get to see in person !

This type of mosaic is called Opus Sextile or Sectile. In this technique materials are cut and inlaid into panels, walls or floors to make a picture or pattern. Common materials are marble, mother of pearl, and glass.  

Basilica of Junius Bassus - Rome, Italy - 331 AD

I am a modern mosaic artist with a deep admiration for ancient Greek, Roman and Byzantine Arts. You can see some of my own mosaics on my site mosaicblues.


If you are interested by my work in general  or if you would simply like to drop me a line, please 

contact me by email at

or by phone at (334) 798 1639.  You can also 

No comments:

Post a Comment