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Panel with mushhushshu dragon


Not on view

Relief of a mushhushshu dragon
Mesopotamia, excavated at Babylon, Ishtar Gate
Neo-Babylonian period, reign of Nebuchadnezzar II (604–562 B.C.)
Molded and glazed brick
Lent by the Vorderasiatisches Museum, Berlin (L.1995.48.1)

Called a mushhushshu, or "furious snake," this fearsome dragon combines the head and scales of a horned viper, the forepaws of a lion, the talons of a bird of prey, and a tail ending in a scorpion’s stinger. Set up on a monumental entrance to the city of Babylon, this and hundreds of other dragons and wild bulls in brightly colored friezes of molded and glazed brick drove away evil and protected the city. Each animal was associated with a powerful god; the dragon symbolized Marduk, Babylon’s city god.

Panel with mushhushshu dragon, Ceramic, glaze, Babylonian

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