Ancient Near East, Sumeria or Babylon, ca. 2nd to 1st millennium BCE. A well-preserved ceramic plaque bearing a mold-made depiction of a mythical beast. The animal has four legs, with the front two goat-like, the back two the talons of an eagle; a long, thin body with a tall, thin tail that projects upward at an angle from it; a tall neck; and a head that seems to combine serpentine features with horns. His body is covered in scales, an excellent textural detail that you can still see! This is Mushussu, the creature depicted at the Ishtar Gate in the city of Babylon, which is thought to have been built around the 6th century BCE. Size: 4.4" W x 3.15" H (11.2 cm x 8 cm)
Pottery plaques are one of the lasting art forms from ancient Mesopotamia, and give us a glimpse into religious practices and what people valued; they were often kept in the home, perhaps on a personal altar.
Provenance: ex Orange County, California, USA collection
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