Queen of the Night Relief

Step 7 of 8

The Queen of the Underworld, Ereshkigal

Fig. 15 - Nergal, Ereshkigal’s husband - Princeton University Art Museum - [2002-74](https://artmuseum.princeton.edu/collections/objects/40915)

Fig. 15 - Nergal, Ereshkigal’s husband - Princeton University Art Museum - 2002-74

A third option for the identity of our mystery woman could be Ereshkigal. Ereshkigal, also known as Queen of the Great Below, is the goddess and ruler of the underworld and the dead. She is known as the older sister of Inanna and is married to Gugal-Ana, also called Nergal (Fig. 15). Ereshkigal’s palace was located near the doorway to the underworld, which was protected by seven gates. Black, J. & Green, A., 2004. Gods, demons and symbols of Ancient Mesopotamia. London: British Museum Press: 77

In a scene of the Epic of Gilgamesh, Ereshkigal is described as a woman who does not wear any clothes to cover her body, similar to the Queen of the Night.

Multiple aspects of the Queen of the Night relief give us the impression that this could in fact be a depiction of the queen of the underworld. For example, the dark colors on the background of the relief and the lowered wings may be a symbol for her connections with death. The owls that accompany the Queen of the Night have also long been associated with death. Furthermore, because Ereshkigal was a major deity, she was allowed to wear the horned crown and ring-and-rod symbolCollon, D., 2005. The Queen of the Night. London: British Museum Press: 44

Lastly, the mountains that depicted the birthplace of Inanna could also be interpreted as the eastern mountains, where the underworld was supposedly located.