The Oriental Institute at the University of Chicago

The Oriental Institute at the University of Chicago is one of the great museums of biblically related artifacts in the world. The University of Chicago excavated at the Neo-Assyrian city of Khorsabad from 1928 to 1935. This site was the fortress of King Sargon II (721-705 B.C.).

Assyrian winged bull, OIUC. Photo by Ferrell Jenkins.

Assyrian winged bull, OIUC. Photo by Ferrell Jenkins.

The OIUC web page describes the winged bull this way:

This colossal sculpture was one of a pair that guarded the entrance to the throne room of King Sargon II. A protective spirit known as a “lamassu”, it is shown as a composite being with the head of a human, the body and ears of a bull, and the wings of a bird. When viewed from the side, the creature appears to be walking; when viewed from the front, to be standing still. Thus it is actually represented with five, rather than four, legs.

Sargon II is mentioned only once in the Bible (Isaiah 20:1). There was a time when some critics denied the existence of Sargon II and suggested that the Bible writer made up the name. The great museums, Oriental Institute, British Museum, and the Louvre, have abundant evidence of his existence.

Photography is allowed in the museum.

The museum website will provide all the info you need to plan your visit to the Oriental Institute Museum.

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