Sacred Marriage Ritual.
OLD BABYLONIAN Anonymous
18th c BCE Mesopotamian Babylonian Sculpture
(1900 BCE - 1600 BCE)
18th c BCE
Hayward CA. CSU East Bay Art Gallery.
Pictured here is the most holy of Babylonian rituals. At the very top of the Sumerian ziggurat was the most sacred space, a shrine holding a statue of the principal deity, a shrine in which there were daily rituals and every year the most holy of rituals, the Sacred Marriage. This World Renewal ritual took place on New Yearís Day. The high priest & high priestess, personifying the high god & high goddess of the cult, would have sex. In doing so they were reenacting their Creation Myth. It was believed that this mystical act would ensure the rebirth of time and the fertility of the fields. Without this mystical act, the new year would not come into being. Surviving are a number of the sacred songs that were sung on this occasion, as well as several pieces of sculpture visualizing the supreme moment of this sacred ceremony. During their sexual embrace, she drank sactified beer through a long straw. Some form of the Sacred Marriage ritual continued in Mesopotamia until the 1st century BCE. Similar rituals were common around the world during the Bronze Age and early Iron Age. The curators of the British Museum date their example of this Babylonian plaque c1800 BCE, and note such plaques were mass-produced. This suggests they were used in domestic shrines. Former collection: Mark Goodstein, Stanton Island, New York."
BABYLONIAN Anonymous | Sacred Marriage Ritual. | c.1800 BCE | Babylonian | Old Babylonian c.1800 BCE | Institute for Aesthetic Development. Brentwood CA. Text copyright-Lanier Graham | glob8-148