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G1975.570 Parviz Tanavoli

Parviz Tanavoli, Heech Tablet, 1973
bronze on travertine stone base
71 1/2 x 18 1/2 x 11 7/8 inches (181.6 x 47.0 x 30.2 cm) (including integral base)
Grey Art Gallery , New York University Art Collection
Gift of Abby Weed Grey, G1975.570

Tanavoli conceived this work as part of his ongoing investigation into the relationship between word and image. As the artist has recounted, Heech Tablet was inspired in part by the famous Babylonian Hammurabi stele in the Louvre in Paris—of which there is a replica in the Iran Bastan Museum in Tehran. In addition to mimicking the cuneiform script used widely in pre-Islamic Iran, Tanavoli's surface markings also resemble the grillwork protecting saqqakhaneh, while the closed locks resemble those attached by worshippers to the grilles surrounding holy shrines.