Head of the demon Pazuzu

Near Eastern, Mesopotamian, Babylonian
Neo-Babylonian Period
625–539 B.C.


Findspot: Iraq

Dimensions

Height: 4.6 cm (1 13/16 in.)

Accession Number

64.522

Medium or Technique

Chalcedony

On View

Ancient Near East Gallery (Gallery 110)

Collections

The Ancient World

Classifications

Sculpture

Pazuzu was an Assyrian-Babylonian demonic being of the first millennium BC. He is often considered as an evil underworld demon, but also seems to have been a beneficial protector against pestilential winds. Pazuzu is also closely associated with the demon Lamashtu which caused miscarriage and cot death, acting as an antidote to her evil effects. Pazuzu’s amulets were therefore placed in dwellings and worn around the necks of pregnant women.

Provenance

By 1962, J.J. Klejman (dealer; b. 1906 - d. 1995), New York; 1964, sold by Klejman to the MFA. (Accession Date: April 8, 1964)

Credit Line

Helen and Alice Colburn Fund