Courtesy of the Semitic Musuem, Harvard University

The evil Lilith is depicted on this ceramic bowl from Mesopotamia. The Aramaic incantation inscribed on the bowl was intended to protect a man named Quqai and his family from assorted demons. The spell begins: “Removed and chased are the curses and incantations from Quqai son of Gushnai, and Abi daughter of Nanai and from their children.”

Although Lilith’s name does not appear, she may be identified by comparison with images of her on other bowls, where she is shown with her arms raised aggressively and her skin spotted like a leopard’s. Dating to about 600 C.E., this bowl from Harvard University’s Semitic Museum attests to the longevity of Lilith’s reputation in Mesopotamia as a seducer of men and murderer of children.