Copy of clay liver used for divination, original from Babylon, 2050-1750 BCE

Made:
2050-1750 BCE in London
maker:
British Museum

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Babylonian day liver used for divination, c.2050-1750 BC, copy, 1981. Graduated grey background.
Science Museum Group Collection
© The Board of Trustees of the Science Museum

Babylonian clay liver used for divination, c.2050-1750 BC, copy, 1981

Divination was used by the Babylonians in Mesopotamia in attempts to predict the future, including the course and outcome of an illness or disease. The liver of an animal was interpreted in a practice called hepatoscopy. Specific areas of the body were examined closely and small sticks were placed in the hole of a corresponding clay model, like this one. The pattern of the sticks was examined and interpreted by priests and diviners. The original dates from 2050-1750 BCE and is at the British Museum.

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Details

Category:
Classical & Medieval Medicine
Object Number:
1982-898
Materials:
complete, plaster
type:
liver
credit:
Trustees of the British Museum
status:
Permanent collection

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