The clues to this story in Room 56 at the
British Museum include the drawing of tree on a ceramic
dish-stand, images of Inanna and Enki, a map showing the
location of Inanna’s city, a carved, duck-shaped stone weight
for measuring in minas, an ax, a description of the netherworld
written on a clay tablet and a model chair.
begins with the goddess Inanna rescuing the uprooted huluppu
tree floating in the stormy river Euphrates. She took the tree
to her city, Uruk, and planted it in her garden. It grew with a
crazy girl trapped inside its bark. Inanna asked her brother,
the sun god Utu, to help her chop down the tree. He refused.
Gilgamesh arrived with his bronze body armour and ax weighing
several minas. He chopped down the tree. The crazy girl escaped
and flew far away. Gilgamesh promised to make a bed and chair
for Inanna from the trunk of the tree. From its branches and
roots he made items for community activities. These fell into
the netherworld. Gilgamesh’s friend Enkidu went down to the
netherworld to rescue them. He brought back a description of
what awaited the dead in the land of no return. It was grim
except for babies who died before they were born. They were
drinking honey from golden goblets.