Photo of the Elamite god by Art Resource, N.Y./Louvre; Lamma, by permission of the Trustees of the British Museum
The Elamite god was once completely covered in gold leaf. Today only his left hand, held in a fist, remains gilded. The statue from Ur depicts the protective, intercessory goddess Lamma. Although this statuette’s arms are missing, Lamma is usually shown with her hands raised toward the sky in supplication. She wears a long, flounced skirt.
The prophet Isaiah condemns Mesopotamian cult statues and the foolish men who worship gods made of wood and metal. But ancient cuneiform texts indicate that Assyrian worshipers were aware of the theological issues raised by Isaiah. They tried to address them in an elaborate ritual, called the