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). Within traditional Mesopotamian religion, animals were closely associated with the God of Shepherds, Dumuzid, who personifies the generative and rejuvenating power of nature.
Old Babylonian Terracotta Plaque of Zoomorphic Scene
A finely modelled Old Babylonian terracotta plaque depicting a zoomorphic scene in high relief. Two quadrupeds are seen on the front of the plaque, both viewed in profile. The larger figure, most likely a cow, is portrayed facing left and standing with its head slightly tilted upwards whilst the smaller, likely a calf, nurses beneath her with its head raised. The contours of the animals’ bodies and realistically expressed anatomical details including horn, mane, tail and hooves echo iconic Babylonian zoomorphic convention. The reverse of this plaque remains plain and unworked.
Provenance: Ex S.M. Collection, London, Mayfair, acquired 1969-1999s.
Condition: Good condition, small chips to the edge and sign of earthy encrustations remain visible to the surface.