Neo-Sumerian Statuette of an Androcephalous Bull, C. 2350-2000 BC
Made of Chlorite with inlays (now mostly missing)
Images of human-headed bulls are found throughout Mesopotamian history. Several statuettes dating from the late third millennium BC show a bearded creature wearing the divine horned headdress, lying down with its head turned to the side. They have been found at various Sumerian sites, the majority from Telloh (ancient Girsu, see map).
There is a small group of these recumbent bulls dating from the Neo-Sumerian period (around 2150-2000 BC), one of which is inscribed with the name of Gudea, the Second Dynasty ruler of Lagash. In the Neo-Assyrian period (9th-6th centuries BC), the human-headed bull, now with a pair of wings, becomes the guardian of the royal palace, flanking the doors through which visitors entered. This creature was a lamassu, a benevolent protective spirit generally associated with the sun-god Shamash.