Head of an Akkadian Ruler

Head of an Akkadian Ruler

The goal of this essay is to give the reader information to further their knowledge of the “Head of an Akkadian ruler” and evaluate the resource gathering process of utilizing only internet resources and the textbook Gardner’s Art Through the Ages. The Head of an Akkadian ruler is interesting to me for several reasons. I admire its astounding craftsmanship, its historic meaning, and the relation to prevalent and ironic events of today.

The Head of an Akkadian Ruler is masterfully sculpted with an amazing balance in naturalism and abstract formal patterns (Kleiner 27). The sculpture depicts very accurately the human face. It details the hair and beard in formal patterns that help contrast with the smooth delicate skin (Kleiner 27).

This statue, as the name alludes, is the head of an Akkadian ruler and is dated around 2250-2200 BCE (Kleiner 26). It’s is also known as Sargon of Akkad (http://www.talariaenterprises.com/teach/mesopotamia.html). This is because the ruler of Akkad’s name was Sargon (Kleiner 26). Also significant is that this is one of the first hollow cast copper statue monuments known to exist (Kleiner 26). It has amazingly stood the test of time and political intrigue to exist still today.

Recently during the invasion of Iraq in 2003 this historical piece of Mesopotamian art was looted from the Baghdad National Museum (O’Rourke http://www.slate.com/id/2081647/). It is interesting to consider the implications and the nature of humanity. This antique in the least has seen the fall of its original home and its mutilation by the invaders (Kleiner 26). It has survived only to be stolen during yet another invasion on its native land, though this time not by the invaders, but by the native people themselves.

Interesting and also ironic is the iconic fall of the statue of Saddam Hussein in the Iraqi invasion, not too far removed from what might have happened to the Head of an Akkadian Ruler over two thousand years ago. I stood not fifty yards from the statue as Iraqi’s climbed about it, attacking it, mutilating it, and attempted with all their might to take the statue down. Eventually after I left the statue fell with the help of the U.S. tank towing vehicle. The world lost one statue in exchange for another. History indeed seems to repeat itself.

The process I used to obtain information was to first use the foundation and reliable printed class text and from that begin my research using the search engine provided by Google. The key words I initially used were “Head of an Akkadian Ruler, from Nineveh”. I viewed several relevant sites to gather as much information as possible. After uncovering the other name for the artwork, Sargon of Akkad, I used it to further my Google web search.

It was easy to find information on my topic, but difficult to find any in-depth additional information beyond what the book had already disclosed. The internet helped the process, but I would not have wanted to use it alone without having the book as a comparable source.

I believe the internet is a helpful tool to find basic information quickly, giving someone a decent background on what they are researching. To further garner reliable and thorough information one should search article databases or pick up printed material from a library or bookstore. Particularly though, the internet is helpful with more recent events. For example, it would have been perhaps more difficult to find information about the looting of the Iraqi National Museum. Also, the internet provides several outlooks on one event, so the researcher can not only discern what might be facts about a situation, but also more properly discern author intent and contemporary reaction. Such is the case with the above example, as the author was obviously displeased that the museums where not better guarded.

This project was an informative and interesting critical look at what the information the internet can, and can not provide for an individual. It is important that I take this lesson with me as a critical thinking tool in any other research situation.


Kleiner, Fred S., ed. Gardner’s Art Through the Ages the Western

Perspective. Vol. 1. United States: Thomson Wadsworth, 2006.

O’Rourke, Meghan. “Raiders of the LostArt.” Slate 17 Apr. 2003. 19 Mar. 2008 <http://www.slate.com/id/2081647/>

Talaria Enterprises Museum Store. 2007. 19 Mar. 2008



  1. Hello! Please e-mail me any info you may have as to where the head is today in 2010, thankyou!

    • I’m sorry Rosa, but I do not know where the Head is located today. Let me know if you have any updates and I will try to include them in this post, thank you!

  2. This historical piece of Mesopotamian art was looted from the Baghdad National Museum supposedly during the 2003 US invasion of Iraq. It is important to note that all 100,000 pieces of art in the Louvre survived the invasion by Germany into France in the 1930’s and 1940’s. It is also important to note that Iraqi units were quartered in the Baghdad Museum prior to American intervention. Iraqi uniforms with Iraqi army shoulder insignia were found both on the grounds and inside the Baghdad Museum dropped there days before and the evening prior to American Armor entering the Iraqi city. History is only interesting when it is told accurately and seeing that this sculpture was looted by either museum insiders or Iraqi Army personnel, this underscores the nature of humanity. Bear in mind that the USA is not allowed to destroy artifacts even in times of war. Again, it was the US Army that assisted in the reclamation of thousands of French artworks hidden and bound for Germany in WWII. But it added nothing to the historical record to allude that American Armed Forces had anything to do with the loss of Head of an Akkadian Ruler. This antique in the least has seen the fall of its original home and its mutilation by the invaders. It has survived only to be stolen during yet another invasion on its native land, though this time not by the invaders, but by the native people themselves.

    • Yes, as I stated. Good point about the Louvre. The Nationals stole the artifact. Its interesting that criticism is leveled at the US in the articles that I read. Perhaps Saddam should have cooopertated with the UN?

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