Mythological Beasts And Spirits: Shedu

Padded paws and feathered wingspan, lion's mane, and all of white, Softly silent, pale and ghostly, stalked the Shedu in the night. From: The Staff in the Tree by Robert Lambert Jones III
Padded paws and feathered wingspan, lion’s mane, and all of white,
Softly silent, pale and ghostly, stalked the Shedu in the night.
From: The Staff in the Tree by Robert Lambert Jones III

In ancient Mesopotamia (Assyria), the Shedu (alternate name Lamassu)  was a winged animal (usually a bull or a lion) with the head of a man.

shedu1

On a visit to London, I saw some of these relief sculptures at the British Museum, and they are impressive.

In later European heraldry, the Shedu is a winged lion. It is sometimes used as a symbol for Christian saints or concepts. One interesting application is that of the winged lion with its paw on an open book. This is a symbol of peace.

shedu2

Below are some more representations of this mythological beast.

shedu3

I like the above sculpture by Scott Eaton of a Shedu doing battle with Wyverns. It’s easier to see if you click on the image to enlarge it.

Here is an interesting composition by Ezra Tucker:

shedu

shedu4

The colors and relatively simple lines in the above illustration by Synnabar work for me, too.

As the image at the beginning of this post indicates, I have used the Shedu as a character for my “epic” story poem, The Staff in the Tree.

More next week…

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5 thoughts on “Mythological Beasts And Spirits: Shedu”

    1. The term is flexible from what I can tell. William O’Connor represents the Shedu as a winged lion in his Dracopedia: Bestiary. I don’t know how accurate that is historically. As far as St. Mark’s lion is concerned, you might be right. I hadn’t seen that term until you mentioned.

      Liked by 1 person

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