Dragon of Marduk
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Dragon of Marduk

ca. 604-562 B.C.; Mesopotamian, Neo-Babylonian Period; Ishtar Gate, Babylon; Molded, glazed bricks; 1.2 x 1.7 m (45 1/2 x 65 3/4 in.); Founders Society Purchase; 31.25
The mythical Dragon of Marduk with scaly body, serpent's head, viper's horns, front feet of a feline, hind feet of a bird, and a scorpion's tail, was sacred to the god Marduk, principal deity of Babylon.

The striding dragon was a portion of the decoration of one of the gates of the city of Babylon. King Nebuchadnezzar, whose name appears in the Bible as the despoiler of Jerusalem (Kings II 24:10-16, 25:8-15), ornamented the monumental entrance gate dedicated to Ishtar, the goddess of love and war, and the processional street leading to it with scores of pacing glazed brick animals: on the gate were alternating tiers of Marduk's dragons and bulls of the weather god Adad; along the street were the lions sacred to Ishtar. All of this brilliant decoration was designed to create a ceremonial entrance for the king in religious procession on the most important day of the New Year's Festival.



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