The Eye Idols of Tell Brak

December 5th, 2009

A photograph and five drawings by M. E. L. Mallowan of eye idols excavated from Tell Brak in 1937.

DiStasi’s Mal Occhio, title page.

“In the excavation of Tel Brak, a site in the Khabur Valley of eastern Syria, M. E. L. Mallowan uncovered a temple which he named the Eye Temple. The name came, logically enough, from the thousands of alabaster figurines found there in which the eyes were the completely dominant feature. The level at which these figurines were found was dated by Mallowan at 3,000 B.C. — the very dawn of civilization. This was the protohistoric period in Mesopotamia, the Jemdat-Nasr period, when writing had just begun. It was contemporary with the First Dynasty of Egypt and the earliest Minoan culture on Crete. The find of eye figurines has prompted numerous speculations on their nature and purpose, and the predictable debate about whether they were amulets or symbols or idols has arisen…” (Potts’s The World’s Eye, p2).

Mallowan’s drawings, reproduced in Potts, p2.

2 Responses to “The Eye Idols of Tell Brak”

  1. Mira Malhotra Says:

    Has Brak the cartoon character have anything to do with this? Looks familiar…. :D

  2. ingrid Says:

    you speak to soul ….thank you!

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