Babylonian Collection, Sterling Memorial Library



Return to Babylonian Collection, Sterling Memorial Library Exhibition Home Page

Return to Exhibition Home Page






Clay Plaque, ca. 17th. Century B.C.E.
This ancient casting of a figurine may reflect popular religion. It is conventionally described as the figurine of a goddess, perhaps even the Sumerian Inanna, patron-deity of fertility, or her Akkadian counterpart Ishtar (whose name is preserved in the Biblical Esther) though lacking the usual iconographic attributes of divinity: the horned crown and the flounced garment. In fact, the figure is totally unclothed, except for her necklace and possibly the suggestion of a belt. The exaggerated sexual traits were perhaps designed to encourage procreation in the bed-chamber where it was presumably kept.

Literature: T. Jacobsen, The Treasures of Darkness (New Haven/London, Yale University Press, 1976) ch. 2.
Place of publication: E. Douglas van Buren, 31:no. 161, pl. ix:fig. 46.
Museum number: YBC 2204.






Return to Babylonian Collection, Sterling Memorial Library Exhibition Home Page

Return to Exhibition Home Page


Yale University Library
Nanette Stahl, Judaica Curator
and Judy A. Schiff, Chief Research Archivist,
Manuscripts and Archives, Sterling Memorial Library
All contents copyright (C) 1995
Yale University Library
All rights reserved
URL: http://www.library.yale.edu/exhibition/judaica/