Destroyed by Islamic State, Ancient Winged Bull Rises Again in London

Michael Rakowitz's
Michael Rakowitz's "The Invisible Enemy Should Not Exist"; a recreation of the Lamassu, a winged deity that stood at the entrance to the Nergal Gate of Niniveh from 700BC until it was destroyed by ISIS in 2015; is seen after it was unveiled on Trafalgar Square's Fourth Plinth, in London, Britain, March 28, 2018. REUTERS/Hannah McKay

aLONDON (Reuters)

An ancient Assyrian winged bull sculpture destroyed by Islamic State (IS) fighters in 2015 and subsequently recast in recycled Middle Eastern food packaging went on display in London’s Trafalgar Square on Wednesday

The work by US artist Michael Rakowitz is the latest of 11 to be commissioned to occupy the square’s fourth plinth, which was erected in 1841 to display an equestrian statue but left bare for 158 years after funding ran out.



The bull replaces a giant “thumbs up” by David Shrigley and will stay in place until 2020 when it will be replaced by a work by British artist Heather Phillipson.

Rakowitz’s project, made of 10,000 empty Iraqi date syrup cans, mimics the original winged bull known as the Lamassu which stood from about 700 BC on the outskirts of modern-day Mosul, Iraq, until it was destroyed by IS.

One of London’s main tourist attractions, Trafalgar Square is a popular site for official celebrations, ceremonies and protests.


(Reporting by Elizabeth Burden; editing by Stephen Addison)