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Animal Farm

About the exhibition

Our little “zoo” shows you a selection of animal figurines, all made of terracotta (baked clay).

The animals represent some of the fauna and the environment of the people that lived 4.000 and 3.000 years ago. There are wild animals, like the lion, and those domesticated and bred to work with their owners and for them: Dogs were indispensable to support shepherds, to watch the herds and fight off attacking animals. Bulls, oxen and donkeys had to draw and carry heavy loads; camels could cover large distances in the desert and the versatile horses met many tasks.

Sheep, goats and fowl guaranteed the supply with meat, eggs, wool, leather, feathers and many other things: almost every part of an animal could be utilised.

In the excavations finds in Raqqa most of the bird remains belonged to chicken and pigeons, but there were also birds of prey, griffon vultures and even ostriches.

What purpose the clay animals had is open to debate. Partly they must have been toys for children or even a simple type of musical instrument, like the bird-shaped whistle No. 106. Others may have substituted a religious offering of someone who was too poor to sacrifice a real animal.

No. 115 Lion head with the mane indicated by cuts and incisions. Provenance unknown. H: 3,1 cm
No. 138 Dog (?) figurine. Provenance unknown. L: 9,3 cm; H: 5,6 cm; W: 2,3 cm
No. 117 Head of a bull or calf. Tall Suweihat. L: 4,1 cm
No. 105 Head of a bull or ram. Provenance unknown. H: 7,1 cm; Dm: 5,4 cm
No. 141 Horse figurine (or camel?) with bridle. On its back traces of a broken-off rider. Provenance unknown. H: 6,6 cm
No. 699 Sheep. Provenance unknown. H: 6,5 cm; W: 4,9 cm
No. 106 Bird-shaped whistle. Tall Bi’a / Tuttul. H: 5,8 cm; W: 4,1 
No. 473 Cart. Tall Munbaqa / Ekalte, 2nd millennium BC, L: 14,1; W: 6,4 cm; H: 8,6 cm