Assyrian Clay Ram Figurine


A finely molded Assyrian clay ram figurine standing upon all four legs. The animal is rendered in a stylistic manner, with detailing to the face including large, prominent, circular eyes in relief and incisions marking out the nose. Large horns protrude from either side of the ram’s long face and twist outwards. From the long body, a tail is displayed pointing down in between the back legs.

This unique item can be found in the Sonia Halliday Photo Library under the Art and Architecture collections.

Date: Circa 1000 BC
Provenance: EX S.M collection, London, acquired 1970-1999
Condition: Very fine condition, slight repair to tail, minor chips to feet and one horn.

In stock

Sonia Halliday Photography is an Oxford based image library established in 1960. The library specialises in images of archaeology, ancient civilisations and antiquities world-wide. They focus on European stained-glass windows, as well as aerial coverage of historic holy land sites and collections documentation. This fine piece has been catalogued within this collection as well as other notable pieces such as The Seal of Hoshea (Circa 728 BC from the ancient Near East) and Clay Dish with Details of Moses Preaching (Circa 1000 BC from the ancient Near East) , along with the Collector himself.

Assyria was an ancient Mesopotamian civilisation consisting of a mixed group of Semitic peoples. The most common material for Mesopotamian artists to use was clay; it was used for pottery, monumental buildings and tablets used to record history and for administration purposes. As the Empire expanded across Mesopotamia and Middle East, art gained influences from different conquered civilisations, including Egypt, Babylonia, Israel and Cyprus

As Assyrian settlements grew larger, towns and cities greatly relied on sheep since they allowed for a more secure food source than hunting could produce. Amulets, figures and carvings show that the images of domestic animals were thought to have apotropaic functions. Depictions of animals were used to express fertility, divinity, and power,  with temple equipment and vessels decorated with animals to be used in worship and sacrifice, Animal figurines such as this one may have been used as a votive offering, an object displayed in a sacred place for religious purposes, in order to gain favour with supernatural forces.

Weight 109.1 g
Dimensions L 10.6 x W 8.2 x H 7.5 cm

Pottery and Porcelain


Reference: To view the item on the Sonia Halliday Photo Library:,Sonia Halliday Photo Library, item IS3-30-32

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