An extremely well preserved and rare example of an Old Babylonian trade weight, finely carved from alabaster. The weight has been modelled in the shape of a duck, portrayed sleeping with erect tail and head tucked towards its body. Although in its simplicity, attention has been paid towards the rendering of the duck’s beak, tail and neck. The base appears flattened and unworked.
Date: Circa 1900-1600 BC Period: Old Babylonian Period Provenance: Ex private London, UK, collection, 1970-1990; seen by Professor Wilfrid George Lambert in the 1990s. Condition: Extremely fine and rare example.
Ancient Mesopotamia traded with many different regions, exporting different types of goods, and sets of standard weight became essential tools in conducting businesses. The weights themselves were usually made of a very hard stone like hematite or alabaster, as seen on this fine example. Weights modelled in the shape of ducks, with their heads resting along the back, were extremely popular.