Saturday, 15 May 2021

Golden boy

Inlaid ivory panel depicting "lioness devouring a boy"... From the palace of Ashurnasirpal II, part of an almost identical pair, originally part of a piece of furniture, perhaps a throne. ca 899-700 BC...


There is something very strange about this object. It doesn't look very Mesopotamian...This "boy" being devoured by the lioness...His gold tunic and particularly his gold curly hair, indicate that this is not an ordinary boy...And the lioness devouring him. The jewel on her forehead indicates that we are not talking about an ordinary lioness either...

I would suggest that this young boy (we know it's a boy because he is wearing short skirt of youth and not the long skirt of adulthood) is the symbolic depiction of the young sun of spring and summer...

A very strange depiction of the sun to be found in Mesopotamia...But not further west...Here are three ways the sun god Helios is depicted on Greek coins: Big rays, Small rays, No rays, but dashing locks of (presumably golden) hair... 




From my post about "Lion killing Snake" symbolism...

Was this golden hair boy an early depiction of such sun god? The piece looks like an import. From where? Do we find anything similar anywhere else at that time in the Eastern Mediterranean? 


The killing of the young boy by a lioness takes place among blue water lilies, wrongly called Blue Lotus, even though they don't belong to the lotus family... 



These beautiful blue flowers are native to both Nile marshlands as well as Mesopotamian marshlands although it is possible that they were transplanted from Egypt to Mesopotamia during Bronze Age or even Earlier...were believed to be "magic flowers", and were worshiped by both Egyptians and Mesopotamians...You can read more about this in "Influences of Egyptian Lotus Symbolism and Ritualistic Practices on Sacral Tree Worship in the Fertile Crescent from 1500 BCE to 200 CE"

And blue water lilies flowering season is from July until September. Peaking in Leo...Leo which marks the end of summer...

Hence the lioness killing the gold haired boy (sun) among the lilies...So I think that whoever made this ivory plate deliberately placed the murder scene among the flowering blue lilies. 

By the way, why is July-August the part of the year marked by Leo? Well Eurasian Lions are seasonal breeders. And their mating season peaks from August and October. 




Covering the whole of autumn, part of the year symbolised by lion...

I talked about this in my post "Symbols of the seasons"...

And it is autumn that kills summer...

Interestingly, Nebuchadnezzar II dedicated the bright blue gate he built in Babylon to the Babylonian "Mistress of Heaven", Ishtar, and covered its fa├žade with Nilotic blue lotus (Blue water lily)...


Ishtar (the warrior goddess) who likes posing standing on a lion...


The "mysterious" morning star...Guess who rises with the sun, pretending to be "The morning star" in Leo? Sirius...A very special star indeed...

Is she the lioness in the original scene? The jewel on the lionesses forehead sure looks like a star...

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