The “art” of the “ancient near east”

Ann C. Gunter*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

1 Scopus citations


By general agreement, ancient Near East designates the region extending from modern Turkey to Afghanistan, from the Black Sea to Yemen and Oman. This chapter argues that there is an issue to explain how it functions as a rubric governing description and analysis, and where its antiquity begins and ends. It discusses two aspects of an issue. The first involves the critical reception of Near Eastern antiquities in the West, especially following the nineteenth‐century rediscovery of Mesopotamian antiquity. The objects initially recovered from archaeological explorations were incorporated into existing aesthetic frameworks established primarily for histories of ancient Greek art, and evaluated accordingly. They gained importance not only as material remains of biblical civilizations, but also for their perceived role as predecessors of Greek art. The second set of questions concerns whether, or to what degree, the modern Western concept of art is applicable to the ancient Near Eastern context.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationA Companion to Ancient near Eastern Art
Number of pages21
ISBN (Electronic)9781118336779
ISBN (Print)9781118301258
StatePublished - Jan 1 2018

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Arts and Humanities(all)


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