The striding dragon was a portion of the decoration of one of the gates of the city of Babylon. King Nebuchadnezzar, who appears in the Bible as the despoiler of Jerusalem (2 Kings 4:10–16, 25:8–15), ornamented the monumental entrance gate dedicated to Ishtar, the goddess of love and war, and the processional street leading to it with scores of pacing glazed brick animals. On the gate were alternating tiers of Marduk’s dragons and bulls of the weather god Adad. Along the street were the lions sacred to Ishtar. All this brilliant decoration was designed to create a ceremonial entrance for the king in religious procession on the most important day of the New Year’s Festival.
Artist Babylonian, Mesopotamian
  • Mushhushshu-dragon, Symbol of the God Marduk
  • Snake-Dragon, Symbol of Marduk, the Patron God of Babylon; Panel from the Ishtar Gate (former title)
  • Ishtar Gate, Dragon of Marduk (former title)
Date 604 - 562 BCE
Medium glazed terracotta and molded brick
Dimensions Overall: 45 1/2 × 65 3/4 inches (115.6 × 167 cm)
Credit Line Founders Society Purchase, General Membership Fund
Accession Number 31.25
Department Ancient Near Eastern Art
On View Ancient Middle East Gallery, Level 1 (see map)
(Babylon, Iraq).
Vorderasiastisches Museum (Berlin, Germany);
1931-present, purchase by the Detroit Institute of Arts (Detroit, Michigan, USA)
Bulletin of the DIA 12, 7 (1931): p. 78.

Cottrell, Leonard, ed. The Concise Encyclopaedia of Archaeology. London, 1960, p. 105 (pl. 4).

Themes in World Literature. 1970, p. 505 (ill.).

DIA Handbook. 1971, p. 30.

Peck, W. H. Archaeology 31, 18 (May/June 1978): (ill.).

cf. Orthmann, W. Propylaen Kunstgeschichte 14. Der Alte Orient. (col. pl. 26, pl. 252).

Family Art Game, DIA Advertising Supplement. Detroit News, April 14, 1985, p. 28 (ill.).

100 Masterworks from the Detroit Institute of Arts. New York, 1985, p.26-27 (ill.).

Matson, F. R. "Glazed Brick from Babylon - Historical Setting and Microprobe Analyses." Ceramics and Civilization, Vol 2. Columbus, OH, 1986, pp. 148,152,156.

Henshaw, Julia P., ed. A Visitors Guide: The Detroit Institute of Arts. Detroit, 1995, p. 95(ill.).