Length: 26.030 cm
Width: 22.860 cm
Thickness: 0.220 cm
Room 56: Mesopotamia
From Ur, southern
Early Dynastic Period, about 2500-2300 BC
Priests making offerings
Square stone plaques with holes through the centre, and carved in relief, are typical objects of the Early Dynastic period in southern Mesopotamia (2900-2300 BC). They were probably dedicated in a temple and fixed to the mud-brick wall of a shrine using a stone or wooden peg driven through the hole. The end of a piece of cord attached to a door was then wound around the end of the peg to tie the door shut.
This plaque was found by Leonard Woolley in the ruins of a religious institution called the Gipar-ku, residence of the High Priestess of the moon god Nanna.
The upper register shows a row of worshippers and a shaved and naked priest with long hair or head cloth. He is pouring a liquid offering into a vessel. A bearded god in robes and horned head-dress stands before him. In the lower register, a man and woman carry animal offerings. Beside them, a woman stands full-face, in the typical pose of a goddess in this period, though she may be the High-Priestess. In front of her a naked priest pours another libation before a building. The building is decorated with niches and buttresses characteristic of Mesopotamian temple architecture.
C.L. Woolley and P.R.S. Moorey, Ur of the Chaldees, revised edition (Ithaca, New York, Cornell University Press, 1982)
J.E. Reade, Mesopotamia (London, The British Museum Press, 1991)
C.L. Woolley and M. Mallowan, Ur Excavations, vol. VII: The (London, The British Museum Press, 1976)
D. Collon, Ancient Near Eastern art (London, The British Museum Press, 1995)