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The Body Of The Able Ruler: Toward An Understanding Of The Statues Of Gudea

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Chapter Summary

Gudea is seen as a patron of the arts-for-arts'-sake, rather than an individual with specific, culturally-determined functions and goals for his several representations. This chapter presents a very brief introduction to the historical individual, and concentrates on the intersection between certain visual aspects of the free-standing statues of Gudea and some of the verbal representations of the ruler evident in his own texts. It demonstrates that what have been considered to be merely formal properties of the works are in fact highly-coded signifiers of meaning. The fringed garment worn by Gudea is draped around his body, tucked with a fold under the right armpit, with the free end falling over and covering the left arm. What Gudea stood for was not only explicitly articulated in text, it was also articulated through expressive physical attributes manifest in the ruler's image.

Keywords: able ruler; body; free-standing statues; Gudea's garments

10.1163/ej.9789004174993.i-542.24
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