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Clay mask of the demon Huwawa
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Тhis clay mask is in the shape of coiled intestines, represented by one continuous line. In Mesopotamia the examination of the shape and colour of the interna organs of a sacrificed animal was a method for predicting the future. Experts compiled records of these signs or omens together with the events they were believed to predict.

A cuneiform inscription on the back of this mask suggests that it represents intestines found in the shape of the face of the demon Huwawa (also called Humbaba), who appears in the epic of Gilgamesh as the guardian of the Cedar Forest who is defeated by Gilgamesh and Enkidu. Intestines in such a shape would be an omen of revolution. The divination expert who made the mask is named in the inscription as Warad-Marduk. It was found at Sippar, the cult centre for the sun god Shamash, who was responsible for omens.

Clay mask of the demon Huwawa

From Sippar, southern Iraq, c. 1800-1600 BC
Ht 8.4 cm

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