Upper row, l. to r.: Middle row, l. to r.: Lower row, l. to r.: Photo © President and Fellows of Harvard College
Identification and Creation
Object Number
1983.97
Title
Fragment of Cuneiform Tablet: Old Assyrian Letter
Classification
Tablets
Work Type
tablet
Date
c. 1900-1750 BCE
Period
Assyrian Colony period
Culture
Assyrian
Persistent Link
https://hvrd.art/o/289226
Physical Descriptions
Medium
Clay
Technique
Impressed
Dimensions
5.2 x 6.1 x 2.2 cm (2 1/16 x 2 3/8 x 7/8 in.)
Provenance
Nanette Rodney Kelekian, New York, formerly in the possession of her father Charles Dikran Kelekian; gift to Fogg Art Museum, 1983.
Acquisition and Rights
Credit Line
Harvard Art Museums/Arthur M. Sackler Museum, Gift of Nanette B. Rodney
Accession Year
1983
Object Number
1983.97
Division
Asian and Mediterranean Art
Contact
am_asianmediterranean@harvard.edu
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Descriptions
Description
Fragment of clay tablet with cuneiform writing. The tablet is inscribed on both sides with ruled lines of text written in the Old Assyrian dialect of the Akkadian language. There are no seal impressions preserved. The tablet probably comes from the trading colony (karum) by the mound of Kültepe (ancient Kanesh) near Kaiseri in Cappadocia (central Anatolia).

Only the upper half of the tablet remains so that the six first lines of the text on the obverse and the last three lines on the reverse are partially preserved. The majority of the reverse that is preserved is uninscribed.

The text is mostly broken, but what is preserved of the beginning indicates a standard introductory formula typically used in letters. This letter is written from the "waklum", a title for the ruler of the city of Assur, found mainly in letters, and addressed to the trading colony, Kanesh. The letter concerns a legal verdict given in the sacred precinct of the god Adad, before two divine emblems. The subject of the lawsuit is not preserved, but the final line indicates a penalty was probably imposed (rev. line x+3: "they will pay").

IMAGE: Bottom row, first on right.

This record has been reviewed by the curatorial staff but may be incomplete. Our records are frequently revised and enhanced. For more information please contact the Division of Asian and Mediterranean Art at am_asianmediterranean@harvard.edu