Earthenware plaques, such as this fine example, were very common in Ancient Mesopotamia, being excavated not only in temples but also in private homes, as part of domestic shrines. It was believed that such plaques could help channel protective magic powers in favour of the owner, and so decorative motifs included depictions of rulers, priests, zoomorphic creatures and deities. Dogs feature frequently in Babylonian material culture, either in cuneiform tablets relating to orders of dog food, cylinder seals, or devotional statues dedicated to the goddess of healing Gula, to whom the animal was sacred. Some statues record the name of these ancient pets, such as ‘loud is his bark’ and ‘catcher of the enemy’.
To discover more about Ancient Mesopotamian civilisations, please visit our relevant post: Civilisations of the Ancient Near East.