Close
Close

Accessibility

Interface

Adjust the interface to make it easier to use for different conditions.

Plaque depicting Humbaba, guardian of the Cedar Forest of Lebanon

Plaque depicting Humbaba, guardian of the Cedar Forest of Lebanon

Plaque depicting Humbaba, guardian of the Cedar Forest of Lebanon

Clay

H: 9 cm

Bequest of Joseph Ternbach, New York, to American Friends of the Israel Museum

Accession number:

87.160.0783

Archaeology/Western Asiatic Antiquities

The most famous Mesopotamian epic narrates how Gilgamesh and Enkidu killed Humbaba (Huwawa in Sumerian), the giant demon renowned for his terrifying, supernatural radiance. His severed head was then affixed to a cedar door and sent to the temple of Enlil, king of the gods. This literary detail may explain the abundance of clay plaques depicting Humbaba’s wrinkled and terrifying face, which were primarily used as charms against evil and may have been hung on entrances.

From the Israel Museum publications:

Peri, Laura A., Ancient Near East, Chronicles of the Land, Archaeology in the Israel Museum Jerusalem, Dayagi-Mendels Michal, and Rozenberg, Silvia (eds.), The Israel Museum, Jerusalem, Jerusalem, 2010