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The Iconographic Program of the Sculptures of Alacahöyük

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[Abstract The iconographic program of the sculptured friezes flanking the Sphinx Gate of Alacahöyük is analyzed based on numerous representations in Hittite art that may contribute to the understanding of the context and meaning of these carvings. It is argued that the cult and hunting scenes reflect the concept of the main triad of the Hittite state pantheon—Sun-goddess, Storm-god and Tutelary God, combining it with the new ideology of kingship of the later phase of the Empire period, which stresses the special ties between the king and the Tutelary God of the Countryside. Simultaneously, the lower frieze on the West Tower depicts the royal couple officiating at a cult ceremony presumably during a real local festival. Concerning the identification of Alacahöyük with one of Hittite holy towns, Arinna appears the best candidate. In fact, texts relating to the cult from Arinna enable us to interpret the Alacahöyük sculptures. These sculptures might represent the celebrations during the Great Festival in Arinna, which—as we know from the texts—was attended by the royal couple. There are historical and cultural arguments for dating the Sphinx Gate complex with its sculptures to the second half of the 13th century BC., AbstractThe iconographic program of the sculptured friezes flanking the Sphinx Gate of Alacahöyük is analyzed based on numerous representations in Hittite art that may contribute to the understanding of the context and meaning of these carvings. It is argued that the cult and hunting scenes reflect the concept of the main triad of the Hittite state pantheon—Sun-goddess, Storm-god and Tutelary God, combining it with the new ideology of kingship of the later phase of the Empire period, which stresses the special ties between the king and the Tutelary God of the Countryside. Simultaneously, the lower frieze on the West Tower depicts the royal couple officiating at a cult ceremony presumably during a real local festival. Concerning the identification of Alacahöyük with one of Hittite holy towns, Arinna appears the best candidate. In fact, texts relating to the cult from Arinna enable us to interpret the Alacahöyük sculptures. These sculptures might represent the celebrations during the Great Festival in Arinna, which—as we know from the texts—was attended by the royal couple. There are historical and cultural arguments for dating the Sphinx Gate complex with its sculptures to the second half of the 13th century BC.]

Affiliations: 1: Department of Ancient Near Eastern Studies, University of Warsaw Krakowskie Przedm. 26/28, 00927 Warszawa Poland, URL: http://www.w3.org/1999/xlink

10.1163/156921211X603922
/content/journals/10.1163/156921211x603922
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/content/journals/10.1163/156921211x603922
2011-01-01
2016-12-06

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