Copper statue of Lamma

Old Babylonian, about 1800-1600 BC
From Ur, southern Iraq

The excavator Leonard Woolley found this statue in a hollow wooden box, lying in the courtyard of a shrine. The box may have been a plinth for a limestone statue. Woolley identified the statue as an image of the god Hendursag but it is now known to be the goddess Lamma.

The Sumerian term lamma refers to a minor deity who is beneficent and protective. Generally the lamma was anonymous. In art they are depicted in quite consistent form, usually introducing worshippers on cylinder seals. Later the related term lamassu seems to refer to the colossal statues of winged human-headed bulls and lions which guarded the gateways of Assyrian palaces and temples.

Lamma is normally shown with one or both hands raised in supplication to a major god. Here her arms are missing. She wears a multiple-horned headdress and a tiered garment either representing a fine, pleated material or a fringed wool imitation of earlier sheepskin garments. The counterweight to her necklace hangs all the way down her back.

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More information

Bibliography

C.L. Woolley and M. Mallowan, Ur Excavations, vol. VII: The (London, The British Museum Press, 1976)

D.J. Wiseman, 'The goddess Lama at Ur', Iraq-14, 22 (1960), pp. 166-71

D. Collon, Ancient Near Eastern art (London, The British Museum Press, 1995)

J. Black and A. Green, Gods, demons and symbols of -1 (London, The British Museum Press, 1992)

Dimensions

Height: 9.840 cm
Width: 2.540 cm

Museum number

ME 123040

WCO20966

Excavated by British Museum Expedition

Location

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