Babylonian Stone Pendant of Humbaba

£ 1,250.00

A finely modelled Babylonian hardstone pendant of the demon Humbaba, guardian of the Forest of Cedars, who was beheaded by Enkidu and Gilgamesh, a tale recounted in the Epic of Gilgamesh. The pendant is carved from a glossy black hardstone and features the grimacing and grotesque face of the demon revealing his teeth. This piece features a suspension loop and a flat, unworked reverse.

Date: Circa 2nd-1st Millennium BC
Condition: Very fine, intact. Minor scratches on the back.
Product Code: NES-19
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In ancient Mesopotamian religion, Humbaba was one of the heroes of the Epic of Gilgamesh and believed to be a giant raised by Utu, the Sun god. He was the doorkeeper of the Cedar Forest where the gods lived, and was regarded as a very dangerous and fearsome monster. Stone heads, such as this fine example, were worn as apotropaic amulets, to ward off bad luck and misfortune. The practice of wearing Humbaba’s head-shaped amulets has been documented from the Old Babylonian Period until the Persian Achaemenid rule. The beheading of Humbaba finds parallels in the Greek myth of Perseus and Medusa.

To discover more about the Babylonians, please visit our relevant post: Civilisations of the Ancient Near East.

Dimensions H 2.4 cm
Region

Near East (Western Asiatic)

Semi-Precious Stone

Hardstone

Reference: For a similar item, The British Museum, item 116788.

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