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Near-Eastern Terracotta Plaque with Man & Wife

Ancient Near East, Sumeria or Babylon, ca. 2nd to 1st millennium BCE. A mold-made plaque depicting a standing man and woman. The woman wears long, draped clothing and has her hair piled on top of her head, while the man also wears a long, draped garment and has a beard and hair to his shoulders. They seem to be embracing, or at least touching each other in a friendly (rather than sexual or aggressive) manner, and may represent a husband and wife. Mesopotamian marriage was a bond between families, with the production of children, especially sons, seen as its most important function, but this plaque hints at a level of affection between the man and woman that signifies the lasting emotional bonds some marriages may have had. Comes with custom stand. Size: 1.95" W x 3.4" H (5 cm x 8.6 cm); height on stand: 4.05" (10.3 cm)

Pottery plaques are one of the best surviving art forms from ancient Mesopotamia and they give us a glimpse into everyday practices and what people valued; they were often kept in the home, perhaps on a personal altar.

Condition: Loss to bottom edge as shown. Surface has some wear and encrustation from age, but form is clear.

Provenance: private East Coast, USA collection

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