Elizabeth A. Sackler Center for Feminist Art: The Dinner Party: Heritage Floor: Amat-Mamu

signature image

Judy Chicago (American, b. 1939). The Dinner Party (Heritage Floor; detail), 1974–79. Porcelain with rainbow and gold luster, 48 x 48 x 48 ft. (14.6 x 14.6 x 14.6 m). Brooklyn Museum, Gift of the Elizabeth A. Sackler Foundation, 2002.10. © Judy Chicago. Photograph by Jook Leung Photography

Amat-Mamu
Flourished circa 1750 B.C., Sippar, Babylonia (modern-day Iraq)

Amat-Mamu was a priestess and temple scribe in Sippar, a city of ancient Babylonia. She was a member of the gagum, a walled precinct with hundreds of houses inhabited exclusively by naditu women. Naditus came from the wealthiest families in Sippar; they controlled their own money and participated in the city's economy through investment and trade. They were prohibited from marrying or bearing children (the word naditum means "fallow" or "taboo"), which greatly increased their life expectancy. Naditu documents indicate that Amat-Mamu was one of eight scribes within Sippar's gagum, and that her career spanned the reigns of three kings—Hammurabi (1792–1750 B.C.), Samsuiluna (1749–1712 B.C.), and Abi-eshuh (1711–1684 B.C.). Thus, she must have lived in the gagum for at least forty years.

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