Anahita, Astarte, Innana, and Ishtar
Many names folks, to describe the same goddess in different
cultures: Zoroastrian, Syrian, Sumerian, and Babylonian in the
order of the title. These were Mother Goddesses, rulers of
Waters, Stars, and the Fates. They were the principal females of
In times of Antiquity, hammer and chasing was a form of jewelry
and utensil making that had reached a zenith of perfection. An
exquisite example of this art is in the form of an ewer from the
Sasanian period…circa 500 A.D.
What…some of you may well ask…have these goddesses to do
with our ewer? I’ll tell you…I’ll tell you. But first…a
little more about our Goddesses. I am going to take a bit of
literary freedom, and combine the legends of the four into one
telling. Innana…also known as a goddess of sexual
love…presided over a cult of sacred prostitution. In her name,
every woman of Babylon was required, at one time or another in
her existence on this earth, to sit in Ishtar’s temple and make
love with the first stranger to cast coins in her lap. It
doesn’t say how much. Any figure would probably do. So…who
could not revere such a precept…I ask you? Anyone out there
have change of a dollar?
Our Sasanian ewer was cast as separate pieces…consisting of
the ewer itself, the foot, the handle, the lid and the rings. It
is made of silver and gilt. On it, against a gilded background,
stands a dancer, holding bowls of fruits, drinking vessels, a
baby, a fish, and other symbols which relate directly to
prosperity. It is said, by some, that this dancer is none other
than Mademoiselle Anahita, Goddess of fertility and other things
Innana was also known as the Lady of Battles…riding a chariot
drawn by seven lions and sporting a full beard which fell to her
breasts. Androgyny, clearly, was not something born of modernism.
I bring you all this informative stuff so that…when you view
the ewer…you see more than just a white figure against a
golden background. I never cease to be amazed at the
craftsmanship that was born before the advent of
industrialization. The Flash for Cash mentality of today seems
to have overcome, all too often, the quest for beauty and art.
That said folks…let us get on with it. To see this ewer, for
you new subscribers…go to my home page…scroll down the table
menu till you get to the box that says Tidbits. Inside that box,
where you see Tidbits Graphics…click on the link that says
And there ya have it.
That’s it for this week folks.
Catch you all next week.
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