Elamite Terracotta Plaque of Goddess Isthar


A finely modelled Elamite terracotta plaque of a nude fertility goddess. The figurine is characteristically portrayed facing frontally, standing and gazing forward. She is presented with her arms raised to her chest, holding her breasts with her hands. Her facial features are simplistically elegant, with wide, almond-shaped eyes and a small mouth. She wears a headdress around her hair, a protruding globular ornament in the centre and decorated with horizontal modellings that imitate the fabric of her turban. Her representation stylistically attests to iconic Elamite traditions. Her pubic area and sensual legs are well-proportioned, demonstrating a strong aesthetic adherence to conventional Old Babylonian parallels of the fertility goddess. Thus this figurine depicts a blended style that encompasses aesthetic techniques from both the Old Babylonia and Elam.

Date: Circa 1800-1600 BC
Provenance: Acquired before the early 1970s. Ex London, UK, gallery, once belonged to the private collection of a London gentleman.
Condition: Very fine condition, with minor chips around the edges. Some professional repairs to the body.

In stock

In the middle of the second millennium BC, the state of Elam, achieved much progress in political and military power, to form a unique artistic style that is distinctively their own. Terracotta plaques and figurines, depicting nude fertility goddesses, were invented during the periods of the Isin-Larsa and Babylonian Dynasties. Old Babylonian terracotta plaques of fertility goddesses had a great aesthetic impact on the peripheral regions. Elamite parallels, depicting nude fertility goddesses, might have owed their existences to the Old Babylonian inspirations of the goddess Inanna. Different from the traditional Mesopotamian examples, Elamite images are characterised by detailed depictions of jewels and the exaggerated sensual female body outline. Inanna, also known as Ishtar in ancient Akkadian, was the most important female deity in Mesopotamia throughout the second millennium BC. She was identified with the planet Venus and with the sunrise, in addition to being recognised as the goddess of both sexual love and warfare within the ancient Near Eastern religious realm.

Weight 92.5 g
Dimensions W 5.8 x H 16.1 cm

Pottery and Porcelain


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