Art/ Collection/ Collection/ Art Object

Molded plaque: king or a god carrying a mace

Period:
Isin-Larsa–early Old Babylonian
Date:
ca. 2000–1700 B.C.
Geography:
Southern Mesopotamia
Culture:
Isin-Larsa–Old Babylonian
Medium:
Ceramic
Dimensions:
H. 12.1 cm, W. 7.1 cm
Classification:
Ceramics-Reliefs
Credit Line:
Rogers Fund, 1932
Accession Number:
32.39.2
On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 406
Ceramic plaques of this sort were mass-produced from molds and represent a form of art available to a wide audience. They have been excavated in temples as well as household shrines in private homes. Their subject matter varies widely, including religious images, mythological and erotic scenes, and representations of rulers and gods.

The figure on this plaque carries a mace or scepter and wears a short kilt and the round headdress of an Old Babylonian/Isin-Larsa ruler. His posture is erect and commanding, resembling that of Mesopotamian rulers of the Akkadian period on monumental relief sculpture. The mace held by this figure is often interpreted as a symbol of authority that has been invested by a higher power. Similar figures appear on cylinder seals, where they are usually depicted facing a suppliant goddess who intercedes with the gods on behalf of the seal owner. While some scholars have suggested that this figure is a god, it is likely that he is a king in warrior dress.
Acquired by the Museum in 1932, purchased from John Khayat, New York.

“Origin and Influence, Cultural Contacts: Egypt, the Ancient Near East and the Classical World,” The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, December 18, 1970–April 23, 1971.

“’A Seal Upon Thine Heart’: Glyptic Art of the Ancient Near East, ca. 3500–2100 B.C.,” The Pierpont Morgan Library and Museum, New York, January 7–April 26, 1998.

“’A Seal Upon Thine Heart, Part II’: Glyptic Art of the Ancient Near East.” The Pierpont Morgan Library and Museum, New York, April 30, 1998–August 15, 1998.

Barrelet, M.T. 1971. "La Figure du Roi." In Le Palais et la Royauté. Archéologie et Civilisation 19, edited by Paul Garelli. Paris: Geuthner, pl. III.
Related Objects

Molded plaque: couple

Date: ca. 2000–1700 B.C. Medium: Ceramic Accession: 32.39.1 On view in:Gallery 403

Molded plaque: couple

Date: ca. 2000–1700 B.C. Medium: Ceramic Accession: 1974.347.1 On view in:Gallery 403

Molded plaque: mastiff

Date: ca. 2000–1600 B.C. Medium: Ceramic Accession: 32.39.4 On view in:Gallery 406

Molded plaque: bull-men flanking a tree trunk surmounted by a sun disc

Date: ca. 2000–1600 B.C. Medium: Ceramic Accession: 32.39.3 On view in:Gallery 406

Plaque with face of the demon Humbaba

Date: ca. 2000–1600 B.C. Medium: Ceramic Accession: 55.162.1 On view in:Gallery 403