There is a rich corpus of terracotta figures with a strong association with the goddess Astarte, whose names was altered to Ishtar within Assyro-Babylonian religion. Astarte (Phoenician), Ishtar (Akkadian) or Inanna (Sumerian) was the most important female deity in Mesopotamia throughout the second millennium BC. She was identified with the planet Venus and with the sunrise, and was recognised as the goddess of both sexual love and warfare. The Greeks identified her with Aphrodite. She is commonly depicted naked sometimes with the presence of lions or with wings and a headdress consisting of a solar disc and crescent moon.
Mesopotamian Clay Plaque of Fertility Goddess
A finely modelled Mesopotamian, terracotta, figurine depicting a naked fertility goddess with clasped hands. She is portrayed in an iconic Old Babylonian style, featuring realistic facial features and a slender body that accentuates a sensual appeal. She appears gently gazing forward, holding her clasped hands in front of her chest. A long mantle, with rich folds, drapes over her shoulders and covers her back. To the back of her head is a conical headdress. The reverse side is roughly moulded. This piece comes with an Oxford TL test confirming its date of production.
Provenance: Ex London dealer collection, BL, acquired 1980s-2000s.
Condition: Fine condition, small chips to the edge, small, stable hairline crack to chest. Thermoluminescence test drill hole to the reverse. Date of production is confirmed with certificate number N104c2, dated 20th February 2004 by Oxford Authentication.