Babylonian terracotta mould of Humbaba´s head, the guardian of the sacred wood, 2000-1600 B.C.

This mold is the representation of the head of Humbaba, made to mass-produce figures of this deity. In ancient Mesopotamian mythology, Humbaba was a giant, raised by Utu, the sun. Humbaba was the guardian of the Cedar Forest, where the gods lived and was assigned to protect it from humans. In the Poem of Gilgamesh, he attacked Gilgamesh, Enkidu and friends when they cut down a cedar tree, but Gilgamesh caught him by putting a ring in his nose and tying his arms. He thinks of freeing him, but Enkidu opposes, when Humbaba protests he is beheaded. Enlil, who had been the god who put Humbaba in charge of the cedar forest, becomes furious and redistributes "the seven auras" he had given Humbaba. The representations of Humbaba's head, with staring eyes, loose beard and wild hair is well documented since the First Babylonian Dynasty, continuing in Neo-Assyrian art and disappearing during the Achaemenid domination.


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