Figurines depicting nursing mothers and nude female figures had already existed during the Mesopotamian Ubaid period and they were usually referred to as ‘naked goddesses’, deeply associated with fertility. Terracotta figures and plaques depicting nude female figures have been produced in Babylonia from the early 2nd millennium BC, until the Sassanian period, circa 7th century AD. Such figures and plaques were associated with the goddess Astarte. Astarte represents the Hellenised form of the goddess Ishtar (Akkadian), Astarte (Phoenician), or Inanna (Sumerian). Astarte was the most important female deity in Mesopotamia through the second millennium BC. She was associated with the planet Venus, and the sunrise. She was the goddess of both sexual love and warfare. The Greeks identified her with Aphrodite as her worship spread through Cyprus.
To discover more about the goddess Astarte, please visit our relevant blog post: Astarte, Goddess of Love and War.