Lamassu: The Sphinx In Ancient Greek Art

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Lamassu Many kings and rulers of the past were known as very important leaders who needed to be protected and needed to have something in order to scare off the evils that would try and haunt them. These objects would range from almost anything for example sculptures, paintings, and or pottery. The Sphinx in Egypt is one of the most well known pieces of work that was created to ward off the spirits away from the great pyramids. Every community had their own belief on what would protect them from evil spirits to warriors trying to come and invade the villages. The structures that are going to be talked about are the Lamassu. These are Human-headed winged bull and winged lions that were created in order to protect the Assyrian empire…show more content…
Today, people believe that these sculptures, which were created for safety, are priceless artifacts that now follow all the thoughts and questions of the art world. The art that is known from many centuries ago is not the typical art that everyone knows today, it was all created in a similar way that everyone seemed to follow. Back in the ninth to the seventh century art was more difficult and took longer to complete. Artists ranged from carving out of thousand pound blocks of stone to little tiny 1 inch pieces of different metals to create one piece. They would chisel away and end up with an intricate and detailed piece of work that had a purpose and a meaning to the world. It wasn’t just created because someone just thought of an idea. It was created with a story behind it. The “Human-headed winged bull and winged lion” (Fig. 1) was a very large time consuming piece…show more content…
The Human-headed winged bull and winged lion alone had many different designs and for such a big sculpture it had a lot of details in the wings, feet, face, and the beard of the creature. These designs followed along with more of the art that was created in the empire. In “The King and Eunuch Attendant” (Fig. 3), which was another carving made to protect the empire walls, there seems to follow a similar design and overall feel of the “Human-headed winged bull and winged lion” (Fig. 1). The way the eyes are shaped and the beards of both pieces obviously show that these were both made for the same empire. Even though it was not created in the same time period the Sphinx of Hatshepsut from the New Kingdom, Dynasty 18 (Fig. 4), served the same purpose as a Lamassu. There are some clear differences in the way they are positioned and the way they are sculpted. The Lamassu was created with five legs. When you look straight at the Lamassu it is supposed to be looking like he is just standing there but when you look at him to the side it is supposed to look like he is in motion. Unlike the sphinx, which is laying on its stomach with its two front paws out and its face forward. Even though one was standing and one was lying down they were both meant for the same thing and that was to ward off the evil from the empire.

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