Despite the fact that all the published literature on this piece invariably describes it as a ram, it’s actually a goat … but what’s an ovicaprid between friends? He dates to around 2500 BC and was excavated from the evocatively titled ‘Great Death Pit’ at Ur. He’s one of a pair and the golden tube springing from his neck indicates that he would have originally functioned as support for a table or stand of some description.
This goat is simply a masterpiece of craftsmanship. The original core was created in wood with various pieces of gold, copper, lapis lazuli, limestone, and shell, all attached with bitumen. I do like the symbolic combination of themes around nature and fertility, but I’m particularly enthralled by the fact that is still retains a particular ‘goatyness’ … yes, it works beautifully on the level of symbol, but it is still an exceptional rendition of a feeding goat.