Iraq Museum, Baghdad/Scala/Art Resource, NY

Gods and monsters. An early second-millennium B.C.E clay plaque from Khafaje, in eastern Iraq, depicts Marduk splitting open the star-faced goddess Tiamat so that he can create the world out of her watery body (note the waves that make up her skirt).

Strikingly similar imagery appears on a silver chalice excavated at ‘Ain Samiyah, in Israel.On the chalice, two figures (only one remains) originally flanked a rosette or sun with a human face.