6 jul 09



Son colosales toros alados  asirios con cabeza de hombre(antropocéfalos). Como la esfinge, pertenece al género de los monstruos antropocéfalos

Se creía que estos  monstruos que habitaban principalmente en los desiertos y montañas áridas de  Irán e Iraq; llegaban a medir hasta 4.8m a la cruz y pueden vivir de 75 a150 años…

Los asirios creían que  existían espíritus protectores y benéfico, que imaginaban alados , con cabea de divinidad (por el gorro con varios pares de cuernos ).Su figura es desconocida en la antigua religión sumero-acadia  y abilónica.

Sus funciones eran las de proteger al hombre, defendiéndose del mal y llevando sus presentes y sus homenajes a las divinidades. Se les ubicaba ,pareados, a la puerta de los templos y palacios .

Detail of a Human-headed Winged Bull (Lamassu) in the Metropolitan Museum of Art, February 2008

Detail of a Human-headed Winged Bull (Lamassu) in the Metropolitan Museum of Art, February 2008 por ElissaSCA.

Human-headed winged bull and winged lion (lamassu), Neo-Assyrian, Ashurnasirpal II; 883–859 B.C.
Mesopotamia, Nimrud (ancient Kalhu)
Alabaster (gypsum); H. 10 ft. 3 1/2 in. (313.7 cm)
Gift of John D. Rockefeller Jr., 1932 (32.143.1–.2)

From the ninth to the seventh century B.C., the kings of Assyria ruled over a vast empire centered in northern Iraq. The great Assyrian king Ashurnasirpal II (r. 883–859 B.C.) undertook a vast building program at Nimrud, ancient Kalhu. Until it became the capital city under Ashurnasirpal, Nimrud had been no more than a provincial town.

The new capital occupied an area of about nine hundred acres, around which Ashurnasirpal constructed a mudbrick wall that was 120 feet thick, 42 feet high, and five miles long. In the southwest corner of this enclosure was the acropolis, where the temples, palaces, and administrative offices of the empire were located. In 879 B.C. Ashurnasirpal held a festival for 69,574 people to celebrate the construction of the new capital, and the event was documented by an inscription that read: “…the happy people of all the lands together with the people of Kalhu—for ten days I feasted, wined, bathed, and honored them and sent them back to their home in peace and joy.”

The so-called Standard Inscription that ran across the surface of most of the reliefs described Ashurnasirpal’s palace: “I built thereon [a palace with] halls of cedar, cypress, juniper, boxwood, teak, terebinth, and tamarisk [?] as my royal dwelling and for the enduring leisure life of my lordship.” The inscription continues: “Beasts of the mountains and the seas, which I had fashioned out of white limestone and alabaster, I had set up in its gates. I made it [the palace] fittingly imposing.” Such limestone beasts are the human-headed, winged bull and lion pictured here. The horned cap attests to their divinity, and the belt signifies their power. The sculptor gave these guardian figures five legs so that they appear to be standing firmly when viewed from the front but striding forward when seen from the side. These lamassu protected and supported important doorways in Assyrian palaces.

Text from: www.metmuseum.org/works_of_art/collection_database/ancien…

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Lamassu (bull-man)

A bull-man from Khorsabad
(Louvre, Paris)
Lamassu: Babylonian protective demon with a bull’s body, eagle’s wings, and a human head.The name lamassu is problematic. The Sumerian word lama, which is rendered in Akkadian as lamassu, refers to a protective deity, who is usually female. She is often shown as a standing figure that introduces guests to another god. Her male counterpart is called alad or, in Akkadian, šêdu.During the Neo-Assyrian Empire (c.883-612), monumental bulls, often with wings and always with human heads, were placed as gateway guardians at the entrances of royal palaces. The general idea behind them was that they warded off evil. (In jargon: they were apotropaic figures.) Usually, they have five legs. Lion-bodied protective deities are also known, and are usually called “sphinxes”.
Two lamassu’s in the Gate of
All Nations, Persepolis)
These monumental statues were called aladlammû (‘protective spirit’) or lamassu, which means that the original female word was now applied for a rather macho demon. In one modern interpretation, they combine the strength of a bull, the freedom of an eagle, and the intelligence of a human being. Female lamassu’s are called apsasû.Lammasu’s are also known from the palaces of the Achaemenid kings. Those in Pasargadae have now disappeared, but in Persepolis, we can still see them in the Gate of all nations. The hoofs are visible in the Unfinished gate; in the building that is identified as either a Council Hall or a Tripylon (“triple gate”), lamassu’s served as the capitals of columns.It would be interesting if we could establish a link between the Asian bull-man lamassu and the Greek bull-man Minotauros, although the first one has a man’s head and a bull’s body, and the Minotaur has a man’s body and a bull’s head.
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The creature is a Lamassu, which were ancient Assyrian sculptures positioned in pairs as gate guardians to cities and palaces. The “Sheedu Lamassu”, to give it its full name, translates as “the repellent of evil”, and embodies the power of the Assyrian kings who ruled a vast empire centred in northern Iraq from the 9th to 7th centuries BC. The Lamassu symbolises the supernatural powers of the kings and were used to ward off evil spirits.The sculptures consist of the body of a bull (sometimes a lion’s body is used), the wings of an eagle and a crowned human head.The bull demonstrates strength – in Assyrian times the wild bulls of Mesopotamia were huge beasts, up to 183cm at the shoulder, and were hunted by the kings.The eagle, being the most powerful bird in the sky, symbolises the king’s power as he looks over those he rules.The crowned human head represents intelligence, with the face of the Lamassu carved to represent the king who ruled at the time the sculpture was created.On top of the head is a crown, which features horns as a sign of divinity.The sculpture has five legs, as the Lamassu could be viewed from the front and side: from the front it looked as though the Lamassu was standing firm, and from the side it looked as though the Lamassu was striding, giving the impression of motion.The Lamassu was chosen for the divisional patch by the current MND-SE commanding officer, Major General Jonathan Riley, British Army, because of its symbology as a protector against evil and because it was used as the symbol of the World War I British-led Mesopotamian Expeditionary Force that defeated the Ottoman Turk Army who held the land now known as Iraq. The Lamassu also features on the reverse side of Britain’s Iraq campaign medal, as a symbol of the region.So it is appropriate that the Lamassu have been resurrected as a symbol of good against evil in a land they have watched over for nearly three millennia.

Palacio de Sargón II en Khorsabad, Asiria-Metropolitan Museum.Nueva York-


Autora: Dra.Ana María Vázquez Hoys
Materia: Historia de las Religiones Antiguas
Editorial: Madrid 2006. Sanz y Torres
Nº págs: 655
ISBN: 84-96094596

Filed under: Arqueologia,ARTÍCULOS,General,H. Próximo Oriente,MITOLOGÍA,RELIGIONES ANTIGUAS

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