Not Pazuzu, 𒀭𒅆𒊒𒍪𒍪, the Lord of locusts, a most unwelcome guest and star of Exorcist II; The Heretic, but Mušḫuššu, one of the dragon critters from the famed sixth-century B.C.E. Ishtar gate in Babylon (figure 2). The gate was the culmination of a processional way lined with various critters (most famously, perhaps, lions) in ceramic against a striking blue ceramic background.

Figure 1. Mušḫuššu dragon. Ishtar Gate, replica. Photo: author.

These critters are all over; I can think of having seen two in person: a lion in the RISD museum in Providence, Rhode Island, and another one in the Louvre, which I think is somewhere in Europe.

BUT if you wish to visit my wife in her office you must process past a Mušḫuššu. Does this make her Ishtar? I suppose you had better hope not!

I got this critter for her some 5 years ago in the University of Pennsylvania Museum Store. It was a display copy (the only one left) and has a slight flaw, so I got it for a song (an expensive song, but then I sing off-key).

Figure 2. Mušḫuššu dragon. Original from Ishtar Gate, Babylon. Museum of the Ancient Orient, Istanbul, Turkey. Photo: Dosseman. CC-BY-SA 4.0. Wikimedia Commons.

It’s one of the best baubles I’ve ever given her, if I may say so myself. It’s giant (like 2 feet by 3 feet minimum) and weighs a ton. Most of all, though it’s not a photorealistic replica, it’s a very good replica, quite in the spirit of the original. And the colors—you know about me and colors—speak for themselves. And behold, a little Googlitization turns up some for sale. Get yours today! Uh oh! Other things are for sale, too . . . .

Published by gsb03632

A college professor living in Scranton, PA

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