During the 1928-29 season at Ur, in the Great Death Pit of the Royal Cemetery, C. Leonard Woolley discovered two spectacular musical instruments—a silver Boat-shaped Lyre and a magnificent lyre with the head of a bull made of gold sheet and a lapis lazuli beard. This book chronicles their history, conservation, and reconservation. While little was known about mid-third millennium Mesopotamian archaeology early last century, it was clear that the Sumerians had developed a vigorous trade in luxury goods, with an economy that necessitated a highly structured government whose leaders could command rich and elaborate graves that included a full panoply of musical instruments.
In meticulous detail, using both traditional methods and new X-ray and electronic imaging investigative techniques, Maude de Schauensee probes and analyzes the construction of the two lyres held by the University Museum while providing an economic, historical, and sociological context in which to better understand them. She examines the decorative motifs along with the materials and the techniques of the builders of these instruments. The illustrations—10 pieces of line art, 25 photographs, 6 CAT-scans, 5 X-rays, and 24 color plates—supply additional details. This book presents new information and conservation descriptions for the first time. Musicologists, art historians, Near East scholars and archaeologists, and general readers will find this book's new analysis of the instruments of an ancient culture of significant interest.
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