Mythical Creatures Series
The large figure of the winged bull, Shedu, can be seen in many Assyrian sculptures. Considered guardians and protectors to people’s homes, Shedu are usually found at the entry of temples, palaces and other great buildings. It was also common to find carved images of the Shedu on tablets placed under or on the front door of a house for extra protection.
What is it?
A bull with a human face, the Shedu originates from ancient Babylon myth. They are considered benevolent beings, and often spotted in pairs. Despite their origin, these creatures love to travel around the world and fight evil, helping humans who are in need. They can also be called by magicians who ask for their assistance. But be rude to this creature, and it will walk away, refusing to deal with you any longer. They are a bit touchy.
The Shedu is a male, and the female is a Lamassu.
A winged bull with a human’s head wearing a crown. They wear a long, black beard said to resemble the men’s fashion of their time. Some accounts say the Shedu has five legs, which represent the five elements – fire, earth, water, air and spirit.
Its image is usually carved in stone to act as a guardian of the gates and doors of temples and palaces. These creatures are considered magical. While they have their own language, they are said to understand every other human language spoken – making them highly intelligent. But what’s interesting is that they prefer to communicate with humans through telepathy.
Appearances In Culture
- Lammasu and shedu are two distinct types of good-aligned creatures in the role-playing game Dungeons & Dragons. Lammasu also appear in the Magic: The Gathering trading card game as the white card Hunted Lammasu in the Ravnica: City of Guilds expansion.
- A bull with a man’s head is found among the creatures that make up Aslan’s army in The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe. He appears at the Stone Table, challenging the White Witch “with a great bellowing voice”. In the film Alexander, Lamassu are seen at the Ishtar Gate in Babylon.
- In the Disney movie Aladdin, a gold Lamassu can be found in the scene where Aladdin and Abu enter the cave in the desert to find the lamp.
- In the Games Workshop gaming system, Warhammer Fantasy Battle, the Lamasu was a mount for the now discontinued Chaos Dwarf army. It has since returned as part of the Storm of Magic campaign.
- A Lammasu briefly appears in the Fablehaven series.
- Indiana Jones used a visitor’s tour of the British Museum to gain entrance into the Museum in order to reclaim Baldur’s Ring from Dr. Theresa Lawrence. During the tour, the docent was describing the Shedus and the bronze gates when Jones slipped away and hid on top of one of the shedu statues.
Did you know? Today you can find many statues of the Shedu in many museums across the world. The reason they are always seen in a walking stance is to emphasis the power of the creature.
Previous Mythical Creature Posts:
Marchosias, Ningyo, Abatwa, Cait Sith, Anka, Huldra, iele, Manticore, Hantu Demon, Lich, Joan The Wad, Fomorian, Rakshasa, Hellhound, Sleipnir, Three-Legged Crow, Afanc, Tarasque, Echidna, Alkonost, Landvaettir, Hippocampus, Cockatrice