Semi-circular plaque of female bust, the goddess IshtarOn display
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Semi-circular plaque of female bust, the goddess Ishtar
Material and technique
terracotta, mould-made, and with a cream slip
Dimensions9.9 cm (height)
8 cm (width)
No. of items
Purchased with the assistance of The Art Fund, 1949.
Museum locationGround floor | Gallery 19 | Ancient Near East
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With the bust of a goddess in relief; straight base; mouldmade; baked; cream slip on reddish-pink fabric; the plaque is complete and has a slightly concave lower edge which, on a suitable surface, allows it to stand vertically. The area behind the head is decorated with horizontal bands of incisions, perhaps to represent a basketry or woven (textile); backing, perhaps curtains; she wears a single-pair of horns on her headdress; her hair, dressed into three-part locks, falls on either side of her face; large pendant earrings flank a three-stringed choker necklace; then, below it, five rows of larger beads ornament the upper chest, framed by the draped sleeves of the garment with its patterned borders which are kept in this position by her arms held level at the shoulders; each hand grasps the hilt of a curved sword flourished on either side of her head; there is no trace of ornamentation on the garment below the necklaces. This type is often referred to as "goddess within a structure".
In: Moorey, P. R. S., Ancient Near Eastern Terracottas (Oxford: Ashmolean Museum, 2005)
Glossary of terms
A semi-fluid clay applied to a ceramic before glazing either to coat the surface or for decorative effect.
Moorey, P. R. S., Ancient Iraq (Assyria and Babylonia) (Oxford: Ashmolean Museum, 1976), illus. 31
Moorey, P. R. S., Ancient Near Eastern Terracottas (Oxford: Ashmolean Museum, 2005), 150, p.115, illus. p.115