Sumerian Terracotta Tablet with a Harp Player

Culture: Sumerian
Period: Early 2nd millennium B.C.
Material: Terracotta
Dimensions: 10.2 cm x 6.8 cm
Price: Sold
Ref: 6365
Provenance: Private collection Shlomo Moussaieff (1925-2015), Israel. Acquired between 1948 and 2000.
Condition: Intact
Description: Stamped clay tablet depicting a harp player sitting on a folding chair. The player wears a long, fringed robe and a close-fitting cap. The angular harp is played vertically and is supported on the knee. The musician plucks the strings with his right hand. Clay tablets like this were likely made in temple workshops. Visitors to the temple bought them as offerings to place in the shrine or to bring home for their own house altar. In Mesopotamia, music had an important social and religious function. It was an important part of every official ceremony. It was played at banquets or sacred chants. Each palace and temple had its own professional musicians. Probably from Eshnunna.