An ancient Assyrian wall relief, depicting the symbol of a winged bull with the head of a human male.

Winged Bull

An ancient Assyrian wall relief, depicting the symbol of a winged bull with the head of a human male.

An illustration of sculptures from a gateway at Khorsabad.

Gateway at Khorsabad

An illustration of sculptures from a gateway at Khorsabad.

Winged bull from Assyria.

Sculpture

Winged bull from Assyria.

Winged bull from Assyria (detail).

Sculpture

Winged bull from Assyria (detail).

"Winged Bull with Human Head" — Morey, 1903

Winged Bull

"Winged Bull with Human Head" — Morey, 1903

The Sumerian word lama, which is rendered in Akkadian as lamassu, refers to a beneficient protective female deity. The corresponding male deity was called alad, in Akkadian, šêdu. In art they were depicted as hybrids, as winged bulls or lions with the head of a human male (Centauroid). There are still surviving figures of šêdu in bas-relief and some statues in museums. Notable examples of šêdu/lamassu held by museums include those at the British Museum, Musée du Louvre, National Museum of Iraq, Metropolitan Museum of Art and one extremely large example kept at the Oriental Institute, Chicago. They are generally attributed to the ancient Assyrians.

Winged Bull from Nimrud

The Sumerian word lama, which is rendered in Akkadian as lamassu, refers to a beneficient protective…