Human-Headed Winged Bull

Iraq: Khorsabad, Palace, Court VIII
Neo-Assyrian Period
Reign of Sargon II, 721-705 B.C.
Gypsum (?)
495.3 cm H, 491.4 cm W
Excavated by the Oriental Institute, 1929
OIM A7369

This colossal sculpture was one of a pair that guarded the entrance to the throne room of King Sargon II. A protective spirit known as a "lamassu", it is shown as a composite being with the head of a human, the body and ears of a bull, and the wings of a bird. When viewed from the side, the creature appears to be walking; when viewed from the front, to be standing still. Thus it is actually represented with five, rather than four, legs.


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