|The Burney Relief and myself, London. |
Click on any image for a hi-rex view.
Anyway, I walked to the museum, and found it within minutes. It as rather small given all that has been written about it.
It is a Mesopotamian terra-cotta plaque depicting a winged, nude, goddess-like figure with bird's talons, flanked by owls, and perched upon supine lions. The relief, known as The Queen of the Night, has dated it between 1800 and 1750 BCE. It originates from southern Iraq, but the exact site where it was found is unknown. There is much debate whether the woman represents Lilith, Lilitu, Inanna, Ishtar, or Ereshkigal. Also, is she a goddess or a demon? All these points are unknown, but open to endless speculation, making any research a bottomless pit of wishy-washiness.
I recognize the temptation to cherry pick the available data (and there is a lot of it), then latch onto someone's conclusion that matches my own avenue of thought. I reference the Burney Relief in my ongoing book project as well as my presentations. All I can really say is that this image seems to represent something more demonic than the goddess Athena (also seen with owls), and that the myth of Lilith was that she could shape shift into an owl, fly at night and drink the blood of babies. So, this tablet might represent the more ominous aspects of the mythology of owls.
|the card accompning the Burney Relief|
|The Burney Relief|