Jemdet Nasr Alabaster Lion Amulet

£ 650.00

A finely executed alabaster amulet, styled into the form of a recumbent lion, which dates to the Early Dynastic period. Its limbs are presented tucked under its body, giving it a recumbent pose. Attention has been paid to other characteristic features with light incisions on its body suggesting its mane and tail. Its ears and facial features are sculpted in low relief, giving depth to the amulet.

There is a perforated hole vertically running through the lion’s body, suggesting that it might have been strung as a decorative pendant.

Date: Circa 2700-2600 BC
Provenance: Ex S.M. Collection, London, Mayfair, acquired 1970s-90s.
Condition: Very fine condition, with aged wearing visible on the surface
Product Code: NES-136
Category: Tags: ,

Animals occupied a prominent place in ancient art across a number of civilisations and across a variety of media, including painting, pottery, and jewellery. Some animals were venerated, whilst others were sacrificed. Their depiction is thus endowed with significance in several contexts: in religious rituals, as mythical creatures, and as incarnations or symbols of gods and goddesses.

In Ancient Mesopotamian cultures, lions held important symbolic and religious meanings, and depictions of them have been recovered engraved in walls and modelled in round. In Sumerian religion, the goddess of love and war Ishtar was usually depicted on the back of two lionesses. Her Babylonian counterpart, Ishtar was also portrayed conducting a chariot drawn by seven lions. Lions were also associated with royalty, attested in numerous lion metaphors applied to the king in both Sumerian and Akkadian texts as well as in artistic evidence.

Dimensions W 2.6 x H 1.8 cm

Near East (Western Asiatic)



Reference: For a similar item: Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, item 10.130.2052a>

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