The Queen of the Night Relief (The Burney Relief) by Unknown Artist

A large terracotta plaque with relief decoration showing a naked goddess, probably Ishtar, with wings and bird claws for feet.


Baked straw-tempered clay with traces of red, blank and white paint
49.5 x 36 x 4.8 cm
Art Fund grant:
£200,000 ( Total: £1,500,000)
Acquired in:
Mr Goro Sakamoto

She wears a horned headdress and holds a rod and ring in each of her raised hands. She is standing on a pair of lions flanked by two standing owls. There are traces of paint on the relief indicating it was originally painted. This work was acquired with assistance from the Wolfson Foundation.


Probably from Babylonia (southern Iraq); Selim Homsy and Co, London, 1920s; Sidney Burney, 1936; Colonel Norman Colville of Launceston, Cornwall until 1974; Sotheby's; Mr Goro Sakamoto; on loan to the British Museum 1976-1991, then 1999 onwards.

Venue details

British Museum Great Russell Street, LONDON London WC1B 3DG 020 7323 8181

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