Terracotta plaque with an erotic scene


British Museum

British Museum

This baked clay plaque appears to show a man and woman having sex, while the woman bends over to drink beer through a straw. Ancient documents of this period include examples of erotic poetry where strong connections are made between alcohol and sexual activity. Baked clay plaques were mass-produced in southern Mesopotamia from the second millennium BC. They show informal scenes and reflect the private face of life. Though their exact purpose is not clear, they may have had magical or religious significance.

Show lessRead more
  • Title: Terracotta plaque with an erotic scene
  • Date Created: -1800/-1800
  • Physical Dimensions: Height: 8.90cm; Width: 7.20cm
  • External Link: British Museum collection online
  • Technique: moulded
  • Subject: eroticism/sex
  • Registration number: 1925,0615.4
  • Production place: Made in Iraq, South
  • Place: Found/Acquired Iraq, South
  • Period/culture: Old Babylonian
  • Material: fired clay
  • Copyright: Photo: © Trustees of the British Museum
  • Acquisition: Donated by Burn, A H