Limestone plaque


British Museum

British Museum

Square stone plaques with holes through the centre, and carved in relief, are typical objects of the Early Dynastic period in southern Mesopotamia (2900-2300 BC). They were probably dedicated in a temple and fixed to the mud-brick wall of a shrine using a stone or wooden peg driven through the hole. The end of a piece of cord attached to a door was then wound around the end of the peg to tie the door shut.This plaque was found by Leonard Woolley in the ruins of a religious institution called the Gipar-ku, residence of the High Priestess of the moon god Nanna.The upper register shows a row of worshippers and a shaved and naked priest with long hair or head cloth. He is pouring a liquid offering into a vessel. A bearded god in robes and horned head-dress stands before him. In the lower register, a man and woman carry animal offerings. Beside them, a woman stands full-face, in the typical pose of a goddess in this period, though she may be the High-Priestess. In front of her a naked priest pours another libation before a building. The building is decorated with niches and buttresses characteristic of Mesopotamian temple architecture.

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  • Title: Limestone plaque
  • Date Created: -2500/-2500
  • Physical Dimensions: Height: 22.90cm; Width: 26.30cm; Thickness: 3.20cm; Width: 2.00cm (square peg hole)
  • External Link: British Museum collection online
  • Technique: carved
  • Subject: deity; cleric; temple; devotee/worshipper
  • Registration number: 1927,0527.34
  • Production place: Made in Iraq, south
  • Place: Excavated/Findspot Ur
  • Period/culture: Early Dynastic III
  • Material: limestone
  • Copyright: Photo: © Trustees of the British Museum
  • Acquisition: Excavated by Woolley, Charles Leonard. Division of Finds Department of Antiquities of Iraq