H: 6.2 cm. Diam: 6 cm
Allegedly from Ur
Djemdet Nasr period. c. 3000 B.C.
Condition: complete but with several cracks and three small pieces glued back in place on the chipped rim, and a hole behind the reclining heifer. A few stains on the surface.
A vessel decorated with a standing bull in low relief, his turned head in high relief; also in low relief a reclining young heifer and a sacred stable surmounted by emblematic poles . The stable built of reeds with reinforced tubular uprights and horizontals. An Early Sumerian bowl in stone from Khafaje has a similar type of representation .
These form part of the same iconographic group as a magnificent gypsum trough from Warka decorated in low relief with a sacred stable and sheep, probably used for the temple flock ; their purpose is ritual, to invoke divine providence for the herd or to manifest gratitude to the god for past bounty  possibly dedicated to the god of vegetation Dumuzi, the "Real Son" legendary king of Uruk, called the Shepherd, who is later known as Tammuz .
1 A parallel for the stable and poles is a fragment of a large ritual alabaster vase of the Djemdet Nasr period in Paris, Louvre Museum AO 8842: Amiet, P.: L'Art Antique du Proche-Orient (Paris, 1977), no. 231, pp. 354, 442; for greater resemblance, see a cylinder seal in limestone from Khafaje, likewise of the Djemdet Nasr period, in the Baghdad Museum: Orthmann, W.: Der Alte Orient, PKG 14 (Berlin, 1975), no. 127b, p. 226 - here the surrounding herds are ascribed to Tammuz (?).
2 Baghdad, Iraq Museum: Orthmann, W.: op. cit., p. 183 pl. 71b.
3 London, British Museum WA 120 000: Frankfort, H.: The Art and Architecture of the Ancient Orient (Harmondsworth, 1970), p. 27 fig. 12.
4 Porada, E.: Problems of Style and Iconography in Early Sculptures of Mesopotamia and Iran, in: In Memoriam Otto J. Brendel (Mainz, 1976), p. 4.
5 Amiet, P.: op. cit., p. 566.