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Representing Abundance: A Visual Dimension Of The Agrarian State

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Chapter Summary

In this chapter, the author pursues the ways in which the accumulation of such a surplus, through the production of domesticated plants and animals and the yield of the Tigris-Euphrates Rivers, was reinforced through visual representation in the early stages of the agrarian state. Indeed, this conjunction between agrarian and artistic production from the Uruk to the Neo-Sumerian periods, fourth to third millennium B.c.E., argues for continuity of a central theme of &t;abundance,&t; despite changes in representational strategies over time. In just this way, in the temple bathing festivals (Sanskrit abhisheka>) observed in Hindu India, ritually offered materials are proffered not just symbolically, but in great abundance. Similar themes are referenced throughout the third millennium B.C., from the Early Dynastic period through the Third Dynasty of Ur. At the same time, it is important to emphasize that one must see the visual repertoire as no less rhetorical than the textual.

Keywords: abundance; agrarian state; temple bathing festivals



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