Limestone statue from the shrine of Hendursag

Ur, southern Iraq, about 1800-1600 BC

A votive figure

Leonard Woolley discovered this statue in a niche facing the entrance to a small shrine within the residential area of Ur. With it he found a mace head inscribed with a dedication to Hendursag, and Woolley thought that the statue must be a representation of Hendursag. However, it does lack the distinctive head-dress that all Mesopotamian gods are shown wearing. It appears to represent a female and with her hands clasped in front of her, and so it is probably a votive figure.

The figure had been broken in antiquity. The body was in two parts and had been fixed into a mud pedestal with a lump of bitumen. The bitumen also replaced the bottom of the skirt and the feet. It is possible that the figure was made several centuries earlier, rediscovered and set up in the shrine for veneration.

There were traces of black paint left on the hair and of red on the cheeks; the eyes were inlaid with shell and lapiz lazuli. The nose had been broken in antiquity. 

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More information

Bibliography

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

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

Dimensions

Height: 37.000 cm

Museum number

ME 122933

WCO24126

Location

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