"I love this product – partly because I am fascinated by Mesopotamia! But also because of the rich culture and history the Lamassu sculptures represent, despite the recent unfortunate events in modern Iraq." – Tanya, Buyer
"My favourite product is the winged bull bookend. I think it is great because it is made to a very high standard, is very loyal to the original and it is inspired by a fascinating period of history. Also, it is not something that is generally available on the high street, so it is quite special." – Thomas, Head of Retail Operations
This is one of a pair of guardian figures that flanked one of the entrances into the throne room of Ashurnasirpal II (883-859 BC).
Stone mythological guardians, sculpted in relief or in the round, were often placed at gateways to ancient Mesopotamian palaces, to protect them from demonic forces. They were known to the Assyrians as lamassu.
This winged bull has five legs so that when viewed from the front it is standing firm, and when viewed from the side it appears to be striding forward against any evil. It wears ropes like other protective spirits. Between the legs is inscribed the 'Standard Inscription' of Ashurnasirpal which is repeated over many of his reliefs. It records the king's titles, ancestry and achievements. The helmet with horns indicates the creature's divinity.
Based on the original sculpture on display in the British Museum.