The Bassetki Statue at the Iraq Museum


Osama Shukir Muhammed Amin
published on 21 March 2019
The Bassetki Statue at the Iraq Museum Download Full Size Image

This statue weighs about 150 Kg and is made of pure copper, a more difficult casting that requires a much higher temperature than that of bronze. The diameter of the rounded pedestal is about 67 cm and the height of the surviving statue is 43 cm. It depicts a seated nude male figure, wearing a waist belt, with his legs twisted sideways, and holding what appears to be a standard or a doorpost, the lower part of which survives. There is an Old Akkadian text inscribed on the upper surface of the pedestal before the left leg, which states that this statue guarded an entrance into a palace of Naram-Sin (in what we call today southern Iraq). The statue was found accidentally in the 1960s CE while constructing a road between Zakho and Dohuk, near the modern-day village of Bassetki, Dukok Governorate, Iraqi Kurdistan. How this statue made its way, 100s of kilometers away from its original place, it is unknown. It seems that the upper part was cut deliberately in antiquity, probably to use the copper of the statue for another purpose. The statue was looted somewhere between April 10-12, 2003 CE, after the fall of Saddam's regime. In November 2003 CE, a combined raid by the American Military Police and Iraqi Police retrieved the statue, which was covered with axle grease and submerged in a cesspool in a house in the outskirts of Baghdad. The Bassetki Statue was number 2 on the list of the 30 most-wanted looted artifacts from the Iraq Museum in April 2003 CE. Akkadian period, 2300-2200 BCE. It is now on display at the Iraq Museum in Baghdad, Republic of Iraq.

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About the Author

Osama Shukir Muhammed Amin
Associate Professor of Neurology and lover of the Cradle of Civilization, Mesopotamia. I'm very interested in Mesopotamian history and always try to take photos of archaeological sites and artifacts in museums, both in Iraq and around the world.

Cite This Work

APA Style

Amin, O. S. M. (2019, March 21). The Bassetki Statue at the Iraq Museum. World History Encyclopedia. Retrieved from

Chicago Style

Amin, Osama Shukir Muhammed. "The Bassetki Statue at the Iraq Museum." World History Encyclopedia. Last modified March 21, 2019.

MLA Style

Amin, Osama Shukir Muhammed. "The Bassetki Statue at the Iraq Museum." World History Encyclopedia. World History Encyclopedia, 21 Mar 2019. Web. 13 Apr 2024.