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  1. Madeleine says

    I love how that dragon connects the two god collections through an earthly river!
    What is that winged lady carrying there? A purple peeled banana?

    • Thanks! Dragons were(and still are) water gods in the region that later became China. So I thought I’d hint at that this way. I’m glad you like it!

      The winged lady is Inanna (later Ishtar, then Astarte, Aphrodite, and Venus), holding the rod-and-ring symbol that represents a lapis lazuli measuring rod and cord. She was a fertility goddess, who over time aggregated the powers of other gods she replaced, so that eventually she was the goddess of sex, extramarital sex, love, war, justice, beauty, government, sensuality, the dawn, etc. I actually took a little historical license with her: At first, she had wings and a doorpost made of twisted reeds. But the doorpost would have been really confusing, so I decided to go instead with the measuring tools that she’s depicted with in the early 2nd millennium BC—most famously in the (brilliantly named) Burney Relief carved between 1800 and 1750 BC.

      Burney Relief, Southern Mesopotamia, 1800-1750 BC.

      (I’m not sure where the bird feet came from. She always had normal legs and feet in earlier depictions. Maybe another reader knows that one?)

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