Within traditional 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. The iconographies of Humbaba’s mask, or its severed heads, are well attested on terracotta plaques dating to the Old Babylonian period. Different from its contemporary counterparts, which were executed as a votive offering dedicated to the deities by centred institutions, terracotta plaques bearing Humbaba motifs were widely used as an apotropaic object and were hung on the walls to drive away evil spirits.
To discover more about Mesopotamian culture, please visit our relevant post: Civilisations of the Ancient Near East.