Iraq: Babylon, Processional Avenue north of the Ishtar Gate
Neo-Babylonian Period; Reign of Nebuchadnezzar II, ca. 604-562 B.C. Molded brick with polychrome glaze; Purchased in Berlin, 1931. "This colorful striding lion, its mouth opened in a threatening roar, once decorated a side of the 'Processional Way' in ancient Babylon (the Biblical city of Babel). The 'Processional Way' led out of the city through a massive gate named for the Mesopotamian goddess of love and war, Ishtar, whose symbol was the lion. Each year, during the celebration of the great New Year Festival, the images of the city's deities were carried out through the Ishtar Gate and along the 'Processional Way' past some 120 lions such as this one to a special festival house north of the city."