Early Dynastic Alabaster Feline Sculpture


A Mesopotamian votive statuette of a feline, possibly a lion or a panther, finely carved in alabaster. The piece can be dated to the Early Dynastic period, circa 2900-2350 B.C. The feline appears in a recumbent position, resting on a flat base, with its legs tucked under its body. The artist has achieved an extremely realistic rendering of the feline’s elegant contour, with much attention given to the portrayal of its anatomical details. The feline’s entire body is contained within a single, unbroken line, accentuating its powerful body’s figure. Its almond-shaped eyes appear shallowly recessed, pigments or shell inlays might once have been applied or embedded inside its eyes.


Date: Circa 2900-2350 BC
Period: Early Dynastic
Provenance: From a family collection formed before 1988, be descent to the family members, London and Germany, pre 1992.
Condition: Very fine condition, complete and intact, with visible black pigment at mouth. The piece is supplied with a custom made stand, ideal for display.


The Early Dynastic Mesopotamia produced a wide range of visually identifiable stone sculptures of animals and human figures, often featuring naturalistic details. Most were carved from alabaster or marble, which were once precious materials, used to display social wealth and prestige. Almost the entire genre of Early Dynastic stone executions, is often characterised by a harmonious combination of aesthetically appealing features and religious implications. Stone objects depicting animals, human worshipers and deities are believed to have been executed for ritual and ceremonial occasions, usually placed in temples, shrines or graves. Since the Uruk period (circa 4000-3000 BC), felines have been favoured as religious symbols, associated with dedicatory offerings. Representation of felines as religious dedications have been impressed on seals from the Uruk period onwards.

Weight 199.5 g
Dimensions L 9.1 x W 4.2 x H 4.5 cm



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