The Seated Baboon is a small gypsum sculpture measuring about four inches in height and currently resides in the collection at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art. Dating from the later half of the third dynasty of the Elamite period, which was located in modern day Iran. This sculpture in the round, is unique to most of the Elamite art that we have record of. Elam as a culture itself is only recorded in history due to their enemies and successors, therefore what we know of them as a culture is slightly biased. However, historians do know that most of their culture dealt with conquering neighbor enemies and thus assimilating elements of those cultures into their own. This Seated Baboon reflects this integration of neighboring and overthrown cultures but still has reflections of their own cultural characteristics. The purpose of this paper is to show how the political actions of the Elamites define them as a people, and how that definition is reflected in this small sculpture. This paper will focus on comparison of this statue to the votive figure of Egypt as well as incorporating unique ideas of the Elamite people, each coming from the connection to mass conquest and assimilation of their cultural elements. Therefore the discussion of the rise to power and then the fall of the Elamites as a people is relevant. .
Elam was the most powerful and longest lasting civilization of the Iranian plateau prior to the Aryan arrival. The climax of Elam as a civilization really starts with the rule of king Kutir-Nahhunte. He was an inspiring and powerful king who led his people to over dozens of victories. Each place that the Elamites conquered would be renamed to distinguish the characteristics of that place. They would name each place, bit (house) sha (of) and then the description of the region. For example, "house of blacksmiths" or Bit sha Nappata designated one area. From this we can tell the specialty of the cultures they overthrew as well as from which culture the Elamites acquired their knowledge of certain skills.