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An Exhibition of Ancient Mesopotamian Art

A Gathering of the Gods - the Power of Mesopotamian Religion

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Mesopotamian Terracotta Dog with Kassite Cross
Isin(?), Mesopotamia; 1800-1600 BC; 11 inches

The tan terracotta statue of a dog is related to the modern breed of mastiffs. The dog has an open mouth perhaps barking heavy jowls, a collar and a Kassite cross on top of his head. His front legs are missing. Large when compared to surviving Mesopotamian art, this statue was once painted brown like dog's fur. Traces of ancient paint still remain. Only one other large Mesopotamian statue of a dog is known. It belongs to the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York.

Possibly from Isin, a major Babylonian city and site of the main temple for the healing goddess Gula, the dog was likely a cult statue used in healing practices. The Kassite cross pre-dates Christianity by more than 1,000 years.