While we were in the British Museum, we saw this sculpture titled “The Ram in the Thicket” excavated by the archeologist Leonard Woolley. Two almost identical copies of these sculptures were found by Leonard Woolley in the “Great Death Pit” at Ur. The other is now in the University of Pennsylvania Museum in Philadelphia. It was named the 'Ram in a Thicket' by the excavator Leonard Woolley, who liked biblical allusions. In Genesis 22:13, God ordered Abraham to sacrifice his son Isaac, but at the last moment “Abraham lifted up his eyes, and looked, and behold behind him a ram caught in a thicket by his horns: and Abraham went and took the ram, and offered him up for a burnt offering in the stead of his son”. It depicts a ram (or, more accurately, a Markhor goat) rearing up on his hind legs to eat the leaves on the high branches of a tree (which is also depicted on the shell plaque pictured below). The branches are tipped with buds and eight-pointed rosettes. The statue is made of gold leaf, copper, shell, and lapis lazuli and it's supported on a small rectangular base decorated with a mosaic of shell, red limestone and lapis lazuli. The tube rising from the goat's shoulders was likely used to hold a small tray or offering bowl. The statue is 18 inches high (45.7 centimeters).
I saw the beautiful Standard of Ur, seen above, when we visited the British Museum last summer. It is about 4,500 years old and was probably constructed in the form of a hollow wooden box with scenes of war and peace represented on each side through elaborately inlaid mosaics of Lapis Lazuli and shell. The standard of Ur shows the first unambiguous depictions of chariots in war. There has been some debate on whether a Sumerian chariot was actually used in combat. Many scholars believe that it was merely a “battle taxi”, used to convey a commander to a strategic part of the battlefield where he could lead his troops, in the same way that a modern general uses a jeep or helicopter to reach the front lines. Some scholars also believe the chariots were used to carry noblemen to the battle, where they would dismount and then fight on foot. The Standard of Ur along with the Vulture stele are the first depictions of war in history. The Standard of Ur dispels any question that chariots were used directly in combat. They were likely heavy and slow to start but undoubtedly were truly intimidating in combat, with an ability to scatter the enemy lines.