Within traditional Mesopotamian glyphic arts,Babylonian terracotta modelled plaques were heavily influenced by the iconographies and narrative scenes depicted on Mesopotamian cylinder seals. Terracotta plaques numbered in their thousands and were replicated through the use of mould-made copies. This was standard practise with the Babylonian period. The presented scenes and images reflected favoured motifs and conventional daily, cultic scenes. Zoomorphic representations, including birds, sheep, goats, bulls and lions were favoured by Mesopotamian glyphic artists from the Uruk period (circa 3500-3000BC). Birds, mostly identified as geese or swans, were attributed to a number of deities, including the goddesses Bau and Nanše. Geese and swans, grouped as ‘anserinae’, were associated with fertility, the protectiveness of their young and as protectors of cities. They were a symbol most often connected to women and their multifaceted meaning lent itself well to multifaceted feminine deities. Without a deity represented, plaques like this could also have been simple and typical temple offerings. The isolation of the waterfowl and of the plaque makes its meaning ambiguous.
Old Babylonian Terracotta Plaque of a Goose
A mould-made Old Babylonian, terracotta plaque depicting a standing goose in a naturalistic manner. It features an almond-shaped body with a down-turned plume. The body leads to a long, straight neck and a small head, with a round eye and triangular beak. Undulating linear lines have been used to represent the bird’s plumage. The reverse of the plaque remains unworked.
Condition: Fine condition, with minor cracks along the edges. Earthy encrustations remain visible to the surface.
|Dimensions||W 8.3 x H 7 cm|
Near East (Western Asiatic)