Photograph of a diorite statue
British Museum, London
Gudea was a Sumerian ruler of the city-state of Lagash. He is best-known for building the temple at Girsu, where a number of statues depicting him were excavated. The statue shown here belongs to the British Museum.
At the time of Gudea’s power, Lagash was probably independent of any other state. There are many extant inscriptions from his reign, and the writings that emerged during his time are considered the pinnacle of classical Sumerian writing. Gudea was a great patron of the arts.