Bearded warrior holding a spear


Not on view

This small baked clay figurine takes the form of a male figure with long hair and beard that fall in waves, indicated by horizontal ridges. He wears a domed hat or helmet, differentiated from his hair by its smooth surface. The figure stares straight ahead with large, wide-open eyes beneath arched eyebrows. A prominent nose and small, closed mouth can also be seen, although the level of detail in the features is minimal. He holds both hands to his chest with fists closed, and pressed against his chest is a spear tip incised into the figurine after it had been removed from the mold. The figure apparently holds the weapon’s shaft in his hands, although because of damage over time, details such as the shaft and the lower body of the figure can no longer be seen; the shiny areas are modern restorations in wax. The figurine was made by pressing clay into a mold, a common method of manufacturing plaques and figurines in Mesopotamia since at least the Ur III period (ca. 2100-2000 B.C.). A thousand years later, during the Neo-Assyrian period, practitioners of magic had developed techniques for protecting interior spaces of buildings by means of a ritual that involved depositing an assemblage of figurines beneath the room’s floor. This figure was found buried under the floor in a room in a palace building at the Assyrian royal city of Nimrud, suggesting that it was intended for this function.

Bearded warrior holding a spear, Ceramic, Assyrian

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