Lyre Fragment: Plaque [Object of the Day #105]

November 12, 2012

Lyre Fragment
Lyre Fragment

This Fragment was originally found as the front plaque of The Bull Headed Lyre (object #B17694B). The plaque is broken into four panels that tell the story of royalty’s control over nature, funerary ritual, and entry into the underworld. The top panel depicts a nude figure wrestling with two human-headed bulls. This image represents a king’s control over nature. Beneath it, a hyena carries meat on a table in front of a lion holding a jar and a pouring vessel. The lion’s objects are identical to jars and vessels found in graves. The third panel depicts music making. The lyre seen in that panel is very similar to the one on which the plaque is attached. At the bottom, the image shows the deceased meeting the scorpion man, guardian of the entrance to the underworld. In it’s original form, the plaque is presided over by the sun god Shamash, god of judgement and destiny. He is represented by a bearded bull head that was mounted to the front of the lyre.

Penn Museum Object #B17694A

To learn more about the Lyre and it’s fragments, visit the Penn Museum site: Iraq’s Ancient Past: Lyre

See this and other objects like it on Penn Museum’s Online Collection Database