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Lamassu from the Citadel of Sargon II


The lamassu is a human-headed winged bull.   It is a Sumerian protective deity.  Enormous pairs of Lamassu were carved into giant slabs of stone and placed at the entrances of the brick citadel (fortress) built for King Sargon II.  Sargon II was the king of the Assyrian Empire.  The Assyrians borrowed their ideas from the Sumerians, but they reimagined them to make them their own.

The Lamassu is a relief sculpture, which means it’s a sculpture that’s attached to the stone it was carved from.  The lamassu was carved to appear strong and steady from the front, but from the side, it looks like it’s walking forward.  It was meant to look powerful and menacing.  The cuneiform writing underneath the Lamassu is a warning to all who enter.

Stone Masons were the artists of the Mesopotamian empire.  They carved the relief sculptures into stone slab and walls.  Their art was made to glorify the gods and kings.

If you want to make the lamassu look like the relief sculptures at the entrances of Sargon’s citadel, you’ll need to make a pair of them and create a paper arch to attach to them.  We made our paper arch by cutting a sheet of paper in half lengthwise and gluing the halves together at the short ends,  Then we arched the paper and placed a lamassu at the bottom inside of each side of the arch.  You can stand a small action figure between the arches to get a feeling of how large the lamassu really are.