The clues to this story are in the Assyrian
galleries on the ground floor of the British Museum and up the
wide, white staircase in Room 56. They include images of forked
lightning, feathers, reeds, a bow and arrow being tested, and
arrows in flight. There are also actual arrow tips. A damaged
frieze from the temple of Ninurta in Nimrud shows a great fight
apparently between the warrior god Ninurta and Anzu, the
lion-headed eagle. Upstairs, a copper statue of the lion-headed
eagle looks down from the wall of Room 56. A stone mace head is
decorated with its image.
In The Epic of Anzu the lion-headed eagle steals
the “me” and thereby gains absolute power to command everything
in the universe. Ninurta sets out to reclaim the “me”. He does
this by tearing off Anzu’s feathers and firing an arrow at him.
When Anzu commands “feathers return” the feathers on Ninurta’s
arrow fly straight to Anzu’s heart and kill him.