Mushhushshu, symbol of the God Marduk

Marduk dragon

Mushhushshu-dragon, Symbol of the God Marduk, 604 – 562 BCE, glazed terracotta and molded brick, Detroit Institute of the Arts, Detroit.

In the mid-sixth century BCE, King Nebuchadnezzar had a monumental entrance gate into Babylon built and dedicated to Ishtar, the goddess of love and war. The gate as well as the processional leading into the city were decorated with glazed tiles and bas reliefs of alternating tiers of the god Marduk’s snake-dragons and bulls of the weather god Adad. At street-level were the lions sacred to Ishtar. The mushhushshu was a mythological hybrid, the sacred animal of Marduk, patron god of the city of Babylon.