Assyrian human-headed winged bull from Nimrud; 9th cent. BCE; Pergamon Museum, Berlin
A Lamassu is an Assyrian protective deity, often depicted as having a human’s head, a body of an ox or a lion, and bird’s wings.
In some writings, it is portrayed to represent a female deity.
In ancient Mesopotamia the Lamassu was not only believed to be very powerful but was also a clear reminder of the king’s ultimate authority and as symbols of protection for all the people.
These creatures famously protected the theone room and important parts of the city.
These mythical creatures were also supposed to bless nearby houses
The Lamassu motif first appeared in royal palaces at Nimrud, during the reign of Ashurnasirpal II, and disappeared after the reign of Ashurbanipal who ruled between 668 BC and 627 BC.
The symbol of a lion a brave and strong head of a tribe, but also as a protector could have evolved from the Lamassu.