A stone votive relief
Period: ca 2500 B.C.
Dimensions: Height: 42 cm, length: 32 cm
Ex-British private collection
This relief, of which only the central register is clearly visible, appears to be a perforated mural plaque: the subject represented is very classical in that it seems to be a scene of libation (or an offering scene) to a deity. The small person standing to the left – probably representing the man who dedicated the plaque – offers a non-identifiable object to a masculine divinity seated on a throne holding a palm branch and a goblet. The two figures are dressed in the Mesopotamian fashion with kaunakes, and wear long beards. In the upper register, one can also see a geometric structure to the left and the feet of a personage who would have been found above the god.
Perforated mural plaques in relief are well attested to throughout the ancient Near East: the first known examples date to the period of the archaic dynasties, but this type of relief survived for a very long time, up until the 1st millennium.
Originally, it is probable that the plaque was perforated as part of a system of closure for temple doors; but the votive character of most of these monuments cannot be doubted, as supported by the frequency of dedicatory inscriptions, the artistic quality of certain pieces and the varied iconography.
Galerie Blondeel-Deroyan, Paris, 2002, n. 3.
Mesopotamia in the First Days, New York, 1994, n. 17.
Art of the First Cities, The Third Millennium B.C. from the Mediterranean to the Indus, New York, 2003, p. 71-75, n. 30-33.
The Royal City of Susa, Ancient Near Eastern Treasures in the Louvre, New York, 1992, p. 51-52, n. 51.