During Gudea's reign, he further developed Lagash and his influence extended far beyond his own city (which is located in today's Iraq).
When he defeated the Elamites, Gudea gave the spoils to the god Ningirsu. In each restored temple, he placed his statue in a humble and respectful attitude in front of the deity.
Scholars believe he restored the old pious foundations of his kingdom and increased ritual offerings. Gudea was deified after his death and (scholars believe) perhaps during his lifetime.
The Louvre Museum has a superb collection of statues of this Sumerian prince, represented in the performance of his religious duties. Most were made from diorite.
Gudea is either standing or seated in these statues, often draped in a cloth with fringes leaving bare his shoulder and right arm, with hands on his chest in a gesture of adoration.
In this statue, Gudea is holding an overflowing vase. (See Gudea's Temple Building: The Representation of an Early Mesopotamian Ruler, by C. E. Suter, at page 58 for an explanation of the overflowing vase.)
Image of Gudea statue. PD image, online via Wikimedia Commons.
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