Anzu and “the chicken from …”

Upon hearing of the newest dinosaur – the Anzu wyliei – I grew slightly more excited than your average dinosaur fan. The paleontologists gave a shout out not only to a trustee’s grandson (Wylie) but more exciting to me, to a Mesopotamian bird often seen with the body of an eagle and the head of a lion. They are quite fun to look at (go ahead, Google it, you won’t regret it. To narrow down your findings: “anzu bird”) and anyone familiar with the reliefs from Nineveh will recognize the imagery.

I immediately headed to storage, determined to find an Anzu in our collection. A search of the database gave me no answers. So I went to our drawers of cylinder seals [our collection is approximately 2000] and started looking. I found sphinxes, a lot of sphinxes; I found a vulture ; I found eagles ; I even found an ostrich.

Now, an Anzu is an eagle, but with that lion’s head. And on objects of this size, it’s often hard to see what kind of head that eagle has. Once I started looking? Anzu was everywhere. There are three that are published as eagle, but my vote is that they are actually Anzu—he is often seen protecting/fighting quadrupeds.
My first find was B5008.

I saw that open winged bird [a spread eagle] with head turned in profile and I simply knew.

I saw that open winged bird [a spread eagle] with head turned in profile and I simply knew.

Now check out 30-12-46. You’ll see it’s a man with wings, an “eagleman” at center, but on either side of him, you’ll notice some fierce looking birds.

What’s so great about those fierce birds?

What’s so great about those fierce birds?

One is also on this plaque, B15606, making them a lot easier to see.

Anzu attacks!

Anzu attacks!

This plaque was part of a loan we did to the Beijing World Art Museum, and you can find a full description of this object from that catalogue here.

So a newly discovered dinosaur led me to discover some Anzus of our own; I’m re-cataloging them this week.

This entry was posted in Collection, Fun!, Iraq and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink. Trackbacks are closed, but you can post a comment.