Pot from Mesopotamia


Rijksmuseum van Oudheden

Rijksmuseum van Oudheden
Leiden, Netherlands

A striking feature of this pot is its lively, naturalistic decoration. In those days – the beginning of the Middle Bronze Age – ordinary Syrian and Mesopotamian pottery was not decorated, as a rule. It seems safe to assume that this simple looking pottery was mainly produced because of the rise of the ancient cities with their thousands or tens of thousands of inhabitants.
Possibly, decorated earthenware was not manufactured for daily use. It was intended, rather, for special occasions, to be used in certain rituals, for instance. In a burial field in the vicinity of Larsa a similar pot was found in a tomb, decorated with small depictions of the goddess Ishtar, applied in relief. Hence, it seems probable the earthenware was made for a burial ritual.
This pot features a convex bottom and a low rim folded outwards. Four small handles were fitted onto the shoulder. The side of the pot is divided into four friezes, each featuring three decorative patterns: at the top a row of double circles, next a zig-zag motif and last a lively picture of two or three animals (dogs, birds, fish and an ibex). Every time, the three patterns are separated by a band of vertical grooves.


  • Title: Pot from Mesopotamia
  • Creator: Unknown
  • Date Created: -2600/-1950
  • Location: Isin, Irak
  • Physical Dimensions: h15.5 cm
  • Datering: 2600-1950 v.C.
  • Afmetingen: 15.5 cm ; ø 13 cm
  • Type: pot
  • External Link: Rijksmuseum van Oudheden
  • Medium: earthenware

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