In a recent number of this journal, Theresa Howard-Carter published photographs of the moulded demonic figures on opposing sides of the body of a large grey-ware pottery vessel now in the British Museum (Plate VII). According to her information, this vessel was “acquired by Loftus in 1851 from either Warka or Larsa” and “should date to the beginning of the second millennium”. Equating the creatures depicted with a winged demon carved on a limestone relief from Tell al-Rimah, which she dates to c. 1800 B.C., and which she hypothetically reconstructs on analogy, Howard-Carter identifies the type as “an early or proto-Pazuzu”, concluding that “As for Pazuzu, it is entirely possible that he did not, at this date, have his later unpleasant character, repulsive face or even his name; he stands apart as an accessory to Humbaba in warding off evil spirits”. If correct, this would be a significant contribution to the prehistory of Pazuzu, who has hitherto not been attested before the Late Assyrian period.
In a note of the same volume, however, the present writer has referred to this same vessel, BM 91941, as a “Neo-Assyrian pottery vessel from Nimrud” and identified the moulded figures as representations of the apotropaic “Scorpion-man” of Late Assyrian art. The pot was in fact found by Layard in a fragmentary condition “beneath the fallen bull, at entrance b of the great hall of the North West Palace ” at Nimrud, and is surely, therefore, Late Assyrian, despite these claims to the contrary. The iconography is comparable to that of Late Assyrian art, similar Scorpion-men being portrayed in monumental sculpture both as full-size figures (Plate VIII) and on a smaller scale as copper or bronze furniture fittings (Plate IXa) or in the detailed representation of garment embroidery (Plate IXb). On cylinder seals, the figure admittedly would appear to be first attested in the Akkadian period, and is known at least once in the Middle Assyrian, becoming popular in Late Assyrian times (Plate X).