Plaque for protection against the female demon Lamashtu, Neo-Assyrian, 934-612 BC, Bronze, The Louvre, Paris.
Pazuzu was the demon of the underworld in control of the west and south-west winds which brought famine during the dry season. He was also particularly powerful in protecting pregnant women and children from the demon-goddess Lamashtu who preyed on unborn and newly-born babies. This bronze plaque was hung over a patient’s bed as protection against Lamashtu. The plaque is divided into five sections. At the top, symbols representing the great cosmic gods are called upon to help the person in danger. The patient is shown in a high bed in the third section flanked by two figures dressed in fish skins like the spirits associated with Ea, god of the depths and wisdom. Below the bed is the demon Lamashtu who threatens. Pazuzu is being evoked to drive her back to the underworld thus speeding the patient’s recovery. It is Pazuzu who watches over the patient from the top of the plaque.