Collection online


  • Object type

  • Museum number


  • Description

    Painted fired clay statue of a seated god; head and bust; back of chair behind his shoulders; head-dress with 4 pairs of horns; cloak of fleece over left shoulder; collar round neck; face of exposed part of body and face is red, beard is black and head-dress buff; traces of weapon resting on left arm.


  • Culture/period

  • Date

    • 2000BC-1750BC
  • Findspot

  • Materials

  • Technique

  • Dimensions

    • Length: 7.25 centimetres
    • Width: 5.25 centimetres
  • Curator's comments

    This may have been intended to represent the sun god Shamash. There are remains of heavy red paint on the face and ears of the figure which scientific analysis proves to contain hematite, i.e. indicating that it had been coloured with red ochre. The hair of the figure and the chair on which it sits are coloured black and there are some faint traces of white in the folds of the cloak. The black proved to be coloured with carbon, probably lamp black (soot) whereas the white was identified as gypsum. Although traces of yellow were previously said to be present on the headdress, no traces of this could be seen when the object was analysed in 2004. Fully painted fired clay figures such as this are known in small numbers from other collections, including the National Museum in Copenhagen (one example) and a head of a female figure with red, black and white pigments passed through the London art market in 2002 (Bonhams, 7th November, p. 83, lot 230).


  • Bibliography

    • ILN 1931c p. 684 (boxed inserts in book review) bibliographic details
    • Collon 2005b pp.12-18 bibliographic details
  • Location

    On display: G56/dc23

  • Exhibition history


    2008-2009 18 Nov-15 Mar, New York, Metropolitan Museum of Art, 'Beyond Babylon: Art, Trade, and Diplomacy in the Second Millennium B.C.'

  • Subjects

  • Associated names

  • Acquisition name

  • Acquisition date


  • Acquisition notes

    Antiquities assigned to the British Museum from the excavations at Ur, season 1930-1931.

  • Department

    Middle East

  • BM/Big number


  • Registration number


  • Additional IDs

    • U.16993 (excavation number)
Dominique Collon 4.Clay statue from Ur.jpg

Dominique Collon 4.Clay statue from Ur.jpg

Image description



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Object reference number: WCO121

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