Old Babylonian Fired Clay Plaque of Erotic Beer Drinking Scene


A finely modelled Old Babylonian fired clay plaque featuring clearly expressed figural silhouettes of a male and female figure. The rectangular-shaped plaque, with rounded edges, depicts a woman, bent at the waist, and portrayed nude. She is shown drinking a beverage through a long straw from a pottery vessel that rests on the ground. A nude male figure stands behind her, in close proximity. Thus, the scene presents an erotic display, an iconic Old Babylonian erotic beer drinking scene. Echoing the realistic figural representations of Old Babylonia, the male and female figures feature great aesthetic appeal via their well-proportioned bodies, elegant outlines accentuated by sensual hips, masculine physique and elegant feminine curves.

The reverse side of this plaque remain plain and unworked. The measured height includes the customised stand that this object is supplied with.

Date: Circa 1800 BC
Provenance: Ex S.M. Collection, London, Mayfair, acquired 1969-1999s.
Condition: Good condition, sign of light earthy encrustation remain visible to the surface, small chips around the edges of the plaque


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. Within the artistic genre presenting Old Babylonian erotic beer-drinking scene, a female figure is conventionally portrayed drinking a beverage via a straw while having a sexual intercourse with her male partner, by being penetrated from her rear. In addition to the figural images, a long straw and the pottery vase are equally important elements to elaborate a full, erotic drinking scene. 

Weight 281.8 g
Dimensions W 5.1 x H 11.5 cm


Pottery and Porcelain

Reference: For similar: The British Museum, London, item 116731

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