The Seven Gates of Kur

The Seven Gates of Kur

Kur is the name for the Sumerian Netherworld ruled by Ereshkigal. To enter, one must pass through the seven gates, each guarded by a deity. In the Sumerian myth Inana’s descent to the nether world and in the Babylonian version The Descent of Ishtar to the Underworld, upon entering Kur, the goddess Inanna/Ishtar is made to take off one of her Me, represented by articles of clothing, at each gate.

The First Gate

Gods: Nedu, Pituh

Inanna article of clothing removed: Turban, headgear for the open country

Ishtar article of clothing removed: Great crown

The Second Gate

Gods: Kishar, Enkishar

Inanna Me: Small lapis-lazuli beads

Ishtar Me: Rings in her ears

The Third Gate

Gods: Endashurimma

Inanna Me: Twin egg-shaped beads

Ishtar Me: Beads around her neck

The Fourth Gate

God: Enuralla, Nerulla

Inanna Me: “Come, man, come” pectoral

Ishtar Me: Toggle pins at her breast

The Fifth Gate

God: Endukuga, Nerubanda

Inanna Me: Golden ring

Ishtar Me: Girdle of birth stones

The Sixth Gate

God: Endushuba, Endukuga

Inanna Me: Lapis-lazuli measuring rod

Ishtar Me: Bangles on her wrists and ankes

The Seventh Gate

God: Ennugigi

Inanna Me: Pala dress

Ishtar Me: Proud garment of her body

Sources Cited

Black, J.A., Cunningham, G., Fluckiger-Hawker, E, Robson, E., and Zólyomi, G., The Electronic Text Corpus of Sumerian Literature (http://www-etcsl.orient.ox.ac.uk/), Oxford 1998- .

Dalley, Stephanie. Myths from Mesopotamia: Creation, the Flood, Gilgamesh, and Others. Oxford University Press, 2008.

Foster, Benjamin R. From Distant Days: Myths, Tales, and Poetry of Ancient Mesopotamia. CDL Press, 1995.