The mutilated colossal statue from the mid-eighth century BC of the storm god Hadad, exhibited in the Vorderasiatisches Museum in Berlin since 1891 (VA 02882), has been studied for a long time. However, closer examination still puzzles researchers in several respects. Not only did the ancient destruction severely affect the thirty-four-line text in raised script on the god’s robe (KAI 214), due to environmental factors the inscription has also partially worn away and become a true challenge to decipher. At stake is further the statue’s materiality, making and original appearance (artisans’ specificity and marks, chaîne opératoire; arm posture, inlaid eyes, socle) and the replay of its violent mutilation (distant find spots, traces of destruction technique; authorship, addressee). Finally, the aim will be to think through a statue: about the strategy of a king’s commemoration assured by the ritual enactment of the divine, in a funerary context, assuming certain agents and implying conceptualizations of continuity, liminality, and humiliation (targeted destruction, but preservation of the king’s name).
Monumental Statuary, Sam’alian Aramaic, Digital Humanities