This paperweight is inspired by a sales act found in Shuruppak.
Writing was born in Sumer and Elam out of the need to record the wealth of the cities.
In the following centuries, scribes improved the invention. Slowly, over the following centuries, the scribes, more draughtsmen than writers, improved this invention. Around 2600 BC, writing was sufficiently developed to spawn the first known examples of bureaucracy. This sales act is one example; it was written in Shuruppak, an ancient pre-flood city, the cradle of Neo-Sumerian.
In Shuruppak, a very old "pre-flood"city, the cradle of the Sumerian Neo, a school of scribes wrote its documents in a rudimentary manner, rather like the aide-memoire of accounting operations. We have here the deed of sale of a male slave and a house in this town. The scribe carefully noted the area which is equivalent to 54m ², then listed the six witnesses, all young people, guarantors of the sale.
The word "witness" is a good example of the language and writing of the Sumerians of that time, it is written by three signs:
1. LU "man" whose silhouette is recognizable.
2. KI "earth" represented as a losangic parcel.
3. INIM "speech": this abstract notion was expressed by the image of the head with its already geometric shapes, with its beard that draws attention to the mouth and the words that come out of it.
The pictographic signs begin to be schematized, each line takes on the appearance of a nail: the writing will soon become "cuneiform".
Length: 8 cm
Width: 8 cm
Packaging: Red box RMN
Period: Around 2600 BC.
Origin: Former Shuruppak, now Fara
Museum: Paris - Louvre Museum