Black Stone Syro-Anatolian Votive Cup


A finely sculpted, delicate Syro-Anatolian votive cup, made from an opaque black hard stone. It has a shallowly carved, semi-globular container arising from a rounded base. The smoothly sloping walls further extend into a wide opening that features a flattened lip. Four triangular-shaped protuberances, carved integrally with the cup, horizontally extend from the lip of the cup.

This object comes with a customised stand for display.

The height of the cup itself is measured as 1.6cm and the combined height including the stand is measured as approximately 6.6 cm.

Date: Circa 2nd-1st millennium BC
Condition: Very fine condition, signs of ageing remain visible to the surface

In stock

In ancient Mesopotamia, Syria and Anatolia, vessels of this kind were used to store kohl, before it was applied to the body with a glass rod or reed. However, the vessel might have also been placed in temples, shrines or graves as a votive offering. The religious implication of the piece is supported by the fine material the vessel has been carved from: marble and alabaster containers were usually reserved for the elite class or produced as religious offerings dedicated to specific deities. The custom of dedicating cosmetic containers to deities might have driven from the god Enlil’s praise for the goddess Inanna’s beautifully painted eyes. The possible connection with Innana might also be an explanation for the decoration seen on the vessel. Bull iconography was employed as a decorative motif in ancient Mesopotamian art, as a testimony of the great benevolence the animal held in Mesopotamian society and culture. Bovines were extremely important for everyday life, especially for farming and harvesting, but held also a primary role in Mesopotamian religion and mythology: in the Epic of Gilgamesh, the goddess Innana is seen sending the Bull of Heaven to attack the hero Gilgamesh.

Weight 34.2 g
Dimensions W 4 x H 1.6 cm



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