Ishtar Goddess Sculpture Deemed Too Sexually Explicit is Removed in Damascus

Published November 14th, 2019 - 10:42 GMT
"Sexually explicit" sculpture of Ishtar had it coming
"Sexually explicit" sculpture of Ishtar had it coming

Do you find this sculpture sexy? Pornographic even? It appears in Damascus many do. 

A sculpture of the ancient Mesopotamian goddess, Inanna-Ishtar, representative of love, beauty, sex, desire, fertility, war, justice, and political power, was taken down from a tree trunk after it caused massive outrage in Damascus. 

Translation: “A beautiful masterpiece that tells the story of an ancient goddess has offended some ignorant people enough to take it down. These people know nothing of the history of Syrian mythology, and don't see Ishtar as the beautiful, liberal and ambitious goddess who holds love in one hand, and war in the other.”  

Students from the Faculty of Fine Arts carved a drawing of the goddess Ishtar on a tree in front of Damascus University and the National Museum.

Opinions on social media varied between those who appreciated the statue for its representation of love and civilization, and those who claimed that it is too sexually explicit to be displayed in public, arguing that it provokes “sexual feelings.”

Translation: “Here’s an explicit photo of the sexually explicit goddess for those who are looking to get turned on.”

Translation: “Forests in Australia and Africa are burning down. Meanwhile, we're busy covering up a sculpture on a mere tree.”

Translation: “Art in my country is being abolished. Here’s an artwork done by one of my colleagues of the Goddess Ishtar, that got taken down because of society’s ignorance.”

Translation: “Long live Ishtar, and may we someday overcome ignorance.”

Some of those opposed to the sculpture being displayed publicly argued that a naked figure, especially that of a woman, is not representative of Syrian.

Translation: "I am with the removal of the naked statue from our streets. Why? Because it doesn't represent me as a Syrian woman. Syria is filled with epic tales and historical methodologies, and they chose a naked woman to make into an art piece? Goddess or not, I don't want to see a naked woman in my street, it is offensive to our society."

Most of the outrage was in response to what many viewed as a symbol of immorality or blasphemy.  

Translation: "No one has morals anymore, you all are just a bunch of devil worshipers."

Translation: "Damascus is an Islamic city, we do not tolerate such blasphemy."

Ishtar is known as the goddess of love, fertility and beauty in ancient times. It has been worshiped and remained popular even after the fall of the Assyrian Empire.

Ishtar was named in the Babylonian era as one of the most famous gates of the capital Babylon, Gate of Ishtar. 


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