Stone mould

Old Babylonian Period, about 18th century BC
From Nineveh, northern Iraq

A 'portable trinket factory'

This mould could be used for casting figures of a bearded god wearing a high hat and a goddess with an elaborate necklace. Both deities are wearing a flounced garment that is often depicted on cylinder seals (for example, the seal of Adda, also in The British Museum). The mould is a type widely used in the Near East over a long period of time. Although this example was found in northern Mesopotamia, aspects of the images relate to Anatolian styles. This suggests that the owner of the mould may have originated from further north.

The dowel-holes and the pour-channels indicate that this was a closed mould. The missing half must have had corresponding holes which would have permitted it to be dowelled tightly against this surface while the metal was poured in and allowed to solidify. Study of objects which were probably cast in similar moulds suggests that the metal used was lead.

Stone moulds such as this have been described as 'portable trinket factories', and were perhaps used by travelling smiths.

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More information


British Museum, A guide to the Babylonian and, 3rd ed. (London, British Museum, 1922)

J.V. Canby, 'Early bronze 'trinket' moulds', Iraq-4, 27 (), pp. 42-61

K. Emre, Anatolian lead figurines and t (Ankara, 1971)


Height: 7.300 cm
Width: 5.500 cm
Thickness: 1.600 cm

Museum number

ME 92666



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