The art and craftsmanship of the Sumerians was a thing to behold. They worked in gold and lapis as well as clay and wood. They made jewelry and small statues from gold and lapis. They made intricate chairs from wood and reeds. They made musical instruments. They made incredible pottery. And they made mosaics. Archaeologists have found partial remains of some of their mosaics, which appear to be portraits of animals and people, as well as geometric patterns. The thing that they did best was pottery. Their pottery was so good that they used it as a money system, trading pottery for food and other items.
The Babylonians were the next great Mesopotamia civilization. They built on top of the remains of some of the cities of Sumer. They too worked in gold, lapis, wood and clay. They too made jewelry, musical instruments, small statues, intricate chairs, weapons, and mosaics. They continued the art of pottery. To the arts and crafts of the Sumerians, they add massive sculpture, which they created to represent and honor their gods. The Babylonians are also credited with making the first colored egg shells!
In ancient Sumer and in ancient Babylon, people were paid for their goods or labor. In fact, whether they worked in the fields or ran a shop or created beautiful works of art or necessary tools, people were paid for their goods or labor. Everybody was paid, even the king. Typically, people were paid in goods or food.
Another great Mesopotamian civilization, The Assyrians, lived to the north of the Babylonians. They did not create the small statues and objects of art as the Sumerians and the Babylonian people did. They created murals and paintings that showed them fighting or hunting. Their murals showed how the royalty lived. We can tell a lot about their daily life from the activities shown in these paintings and murals.