The Metropolitan Museum of Art, Rogers Fund, 1961 (61.197.5)

Inanna/Ishtar/Astarte, goddess of love and war, holds lions and lotus blossoms in this ivory ornament, now in the Metropolitan Museum in New York. The 6-inch-long ivory was probably used as decoration on a horse’s harness. Although Phoenician in style, it was found at ancient Kalhu (Nimrud), which served as the Assyrian capital in the ninth and eighth centuries B.C. In Assyrian imperial art, Ishtar is shown nursing a king depicted as a child, or she is represented enfolding the king within her arms. In the seal impression shown opposite, for example, the goddess Inanna/Ishtar, symbolized by bundles of reeds, seems to enfold the sheep, king and tree.