Old Babylonian Clay Plaque of a Lion Hunt Scene


An Old Babylonian, fired clay plaque, depicting a rearing lion attacking a kneeling warrior. The wild animal is depicted on it’s hind legs, with an elongated body and rounded head. Its ferocious jaw snarls as it attacks, its front paws placed on the warrior’s head and chest, pushing him to his knees. The man braces his weight on his left hand, leaning back. He drives a sword or dagger into the belly of the animal. The scene is stylistic in its depiction but the theme and its occupants are clearly defined. Whilst the scene is simple, the artists has used the space available masterly, with the length of the lion filling three of the four corners of the plaque. The final corner is filled by the kneeling man, completing the composition without any awkward space left. The back of the plaque is unworked.


Date: Circa 1900 - 1500 BC
Provenance: Ex London dealer collection, BL, acquired 1980s-2000s.
Condition: Good condition. Abrassions to the edges and encrustation consistent with age.

In stock

SKU: AH-1166BL Category: Tags: , , ,

Within traditional Mesopotamian glyphic arts, Babylonian terracotta modelled plaques were heavily influenced by the iconographies and narrative scenes depicted on Mesopotamian cylinder seals. The latter were the significant cornerstone of understanding Babylonian plaques, from which most of the subjects and styles presented are derived. Terracotta plaques and cylinder seals, are the two most significant genres that support and enrich each others pictorial categories. The presented scenes and images reflect favoured motifs and conventional daily, cultic scenes. Zoomorphic representations, including sheep, goat, bull, lion and feline, were favoured by Mesopotamian glyphic artists from the Uruk period (circa 3500-3000BC). Lion hunting was an especially popular motif. It was symbolic of royal power and the defeat of chaos. Most likely this plaque was once part of a larger scene, with the end result being the submission of the lion.

Weight 82.5 g
Dimensions W 9.5 x H 10.1 cm

Pottery and Porcelain


Reference: For similar: The British Museum, London, item 1935,0112.63

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