Near Eastern Art :
Babylonian Art : Old Babylonian Moulded Plaque
Old Babylonian Moulded Plaque - LO.1216
5.6" (14.2cm) high
x 3" (7.6cm) wide
Collection: Near Eastern Antiquities
Location: Great Britain
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The Old Babylonian period describes south Mesopotamia
in the period about 2000-1600 BC. The early years saw
a number of important states dominating the region:
Isin, Larsa, Eshnunna and, from 1894 BC, Babylon.
Babylon was ruled by a dynasty of Amorite kings. The
sixth ruler was Hammurapi, who defeated the other
southern states and expanded his control into north
Mesopotamia. On the death of Hammurapi the empire
gradually shrank over about 150 years. Nonetheless,
Babylon remained an important power until it was
sacked by the Hittite king, Mursili I, in about 1595 BC.
During the Old Babylonian period literary activity
flourished with scribes composing and recording
religious, poetic and 'scientific' works in Sumerian and
Akkadian cuneiform. Perhaps the most famous
monument is the stele of Hammurapi, now in the Musée
du Louvre, Paris.
Ceramic plaques of this sort were mass- produced from
moulds and represent a form of art available to a wide
audience. The casting of plaques was a simple and
inexpensive way to produce relief images, since
numerous plaques could be made from a single mold.
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.