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Gold figurine of a god

-1400/-1200

British Museum

British Museum

This tiny gold figure wears a Hittite version of a horned headdress, the usual way of depicting gods in Mesopotamia. The curved weapon he carries could be a sword, or perhaps a hunting weapon.

Thousands of clay writing tablets from the Hittite capital of Hattusa (modern Bogazköy in central Turkey) reveal that the state religion was based on the worship of natural phenomena such as weather, sun, mountains and water. These were all depicted in human form, distinguished by their horned headwear. The Hittites themselves spoke of a thousand gods, but most important was Teshub, the storm god, whose animal symbol was the bull. The Hittite king played a central role in religious rituals. These included his being bathed to wash away collective sin.

As the empire expanded during the fourteenth century BC, the Hittites adopted many of the deities of their surrounding regions. Mesopotamian and Syrian gods were either equated with their own gods or simply added to the list.

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Details

  • Title: Gold figurine of a god
  • Date Created: -1400/-1200
  • Physical Dimensions: Height: 3.94cm; Width: 1.25cm
  • External Link: British Museum collection online
  • Subject: costume/clothing; deity; arms/armour
  • Registration number: 1939,0610.1
  • Place: Excavated/Findspot Central Anatolia Region
  • Period/culture: Hittite
  • Material: gold
  • Copyright: Photo: © Trustees of the British Museum
  • Acquisition: Purchased from Stewart, James

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