An Old Babylonian terracotta plaque depicting the warrior goddess Ishtar. She holds a bow in her raised left hand and another weapon, perhaps a scimitar, in her lowered right hand, kept at her side, as well as weapons emerging from her shoulders, suggesting that she is indeed Ishtar, the Semitic form of Inanna, the goddess of fertility and of war, in her warlike attire. The face and torso of the goddess are in frontal view, while her legs are depicted in profile. The deity is wearing a high conical headdress and a long robe with vertical pleats cascading to her feet. And she stands with her left foot on the head of the lion which is Ishtar's beast. The reverse is unmodelled.
Isin-Larsa-Old Babylonian Period, Circa 2000-1600 BC
Height 12.7 cms (5 ins).
Condition: Fine; complete and intact with encrustations to the surface; good detail.
Terracotta plaques of this sort were mass-produced from moulds and represented a form of art available to a wide audience. They have been excavated in temples as well as in household shrines and private homes and give us a mysterious glimpse into religious practices and the ideas that people valued. Their subject matter varies widely, including religious images, mythological and erotic scenes, and representations of rulers and gods.
Babylonian terracotta plaque of warrior goddess Ishtar
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