In the middle of the second millennium BC, the state of Elam, achieved much progress in political and military power, to form a unique artistic style that is distinctively their own. Terracotta plaques and figurines, depicting nude fertility goddesses, were invented during the periods of the Isin-Larsa and Babylonian Dynasties. Old Babylonian terracotta plaques of fertility goddesses had a great aesthetic impact on the peripheral regions. Elamite parallels, depicting nude fertility goddesses, might have owed their existences to the Old Babylonian inspirations of the goddess Inanna. Different from the traditional Mesopotamian examples, Elamite images are characterised by detailed depictions of jewels and the exaggerated sensual female body outline. Inanna, also known as Ishtar in ancient Akkadian, was the most important female deity in Mesopotamia throughout the second millennium BC. She was identified with the planet Venus and with the sunrise, in addition to being recognised as the goddess of both sexual love and warfare within the ancient Near Eastern religious realm.
Elamite Terracotta Plaque of Goddess Isthar
A finely modelled terracotta plaque of a nude fertility goddess, presented in a blended style of Old Babylonian and Elamite traditions. The goddess is characteristically portrayed facing frontally, standing in a solemn pose and gazing forward with her wide, almond shaped eyes. She is presented with her arms raised towards her chest, her hands clasped before her. She wears an elegant headdress that has a protruding globular ornament embraced by the horizontal modellings, which imitate the fabric elements of her turban, attesting to iconic Elamite traditions. Her pubic area and sensual legs are well-proportioned, demonstrating an aesthetic adherence to conventional Old Babylonian parallels. The reverse of the plague is plain and unmodelled.
Provenance: Ex S.M., Mayfair London collection 1970-99, thence by descent.
Condition: Fine condition. Some encrustation and repair to the body.
|Dimensions||W 5.4 x H 13.8 cm|
Near East (Western Asiatic)