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Clay head of a god


Height: 11.000 cm
Width: 6.500 cm

Excavated by Hormuzd Rassam

ME 91878

Middle East

    Clay head of a god

    Neo-Assyrian, 7th century BC
    Probably from Borsippa, southern Iraq

    Possibly a sculptor's trial piece

    The horned headdress shows that this head is meant to represent a god. The association between animal horns and deities has a long tradition in Mesopotamian art; some of the earliest images of gods (in the third millennium BC) on stone plaques and cylinder seals wear horned helmets. There does not appear to be any relationship between the number of horns worn by a figure and its position of power; it may depend on fashion or aesthetic considerations.

    This head may have been a sculptor's trial piece, in preparation for a larger or more elaborate image. Statues of gods seldom survive from the major temples because they were made of precious materials and were taken or broken up by invading armies.