Brief : The creation of man in Central Africa

In the Babylonian creation epic Enuma Elish, the goddess Ninhursag (Ninmah or Ninti) created humans from clay.

In Africa, the Yoruba culture holds that the god Obatala likewise created the human race.

In Egyptian mythology, the ram-headed god Khnum made people from clay in the waters of the Nile.

In Chinese myth, the goddess Nuwa created the first humans from mud and clay.

According to Genesis 2:7 "And the Lord god formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul."

According to Qur'an[23:12–15], Allah created man from clay.

Mayan myth holds that Tepeu and Kukulkán (Quetzalcoatl) made the first humans from clay, but they were unsatisfactory.

The Maori people believe that Tane Mahuta, god of the forest, created the first woman out of clay and breathed life into her.

Seven clay tablets called the 'Atrahasis' from the library of Ashurbanipal. Inscribed in cuneiform script, they record the story of the creation of man and a detailed account of the saga of the flood. British Museum


A key to understanding the events and images portrayed in this painting.

Wherever mankind has populated the world, stories of the creation and of gods and men abound. Since the development of writing 6,000 years ago, attempts have been made to record these tales. The uncanny similarities between stories from differing cultures in vastly separated parts of the world, leaves little doubt that the ancient scribes were not writing imaginary fantasies, as mythology is generally thought to be, but were seriously recording the histories of the loves, feuds, and battles which were so characteristic of the pantheons and hierarchies of the gods everywhere.

The region most familiar to our culture is the Middle East and Africa and the tales most familiar to us are found in the Old Testament of the Bible. These same tales however, are mirrored in creation myths occurring all over the world, sometimes amazingly closely. Biblical stories originate in old Mesopotamia and tend to be very sketchy. However, for the last 150 years, some 200,000 old clay tablets covered in cuneiform script, have been lying in the basements of many major museums. Unearthed since around 1850 onwards, these tablets have now been deciphered and we have available today an unprecedented record of events which occurred before and after the Flood, a record both detailed and precise.

There is much geological evidence and almost universal academic agreement that the flood occurred about 13,000 years ago. Until the translation of the Sumerian clay tablets, little was known of what happened during the years preceding the flood or during the 7,000 years following the flood.

About 6,000 years ago, during a short period of several hundred years, an amazingly sophisticated civilization emerged in ancient Sumer. The sciences of mathematics, chemistry, and astronomy flourished. Social arts, administration and ethics, history, medicine and ideas of morality, suddenly appeared and were transcribed in amazing detail. The Sumerians however, made no claim to these achievements and skills. They said simply that all this knowledge as well as the practice of 'Kingship' had been passed on to them by their 'gods'. (spelt with a lower case 'g') The 'gods', they said were flesh and blood and lived amongst them, and had in fact created them! There was nothing strange to them in this concept and they related it as simple fact. They tell of the 'Olden Times' and of the 'Prior Times'. The tablets state:

'In the Olden Times the gods came to Earth and created the Earthlings. In the Prior Times, none of the gods were on the Earth, nor were the Earthlings yet fashioned. In the Prior Times, the abode of the gods was on their own world.'

and after the arrival of the 'gods' on earth:

'No plant of the cleared fields was yet on Earth,
No herb that is planted had yet been grown....
And Man was not yet there to work the soil.'

This is the story of the creation of 'Man' as recorded on the clay tablets found in the library of Ashurbanipal and from several other sources in the Middle East.

A set of clay tablets called the 'Enuma Elish' describes a cosmic battle which provides some insight into the Sumerian science of astronomy. Revolving around APSU, the sun was a family comprising GAGA (Pluto), EA (Neptune), ANU (Uranus), ANSHAR (Saturn) and KISHAR (Jupiter). Next was a large watery planet called TIAMAT which had several moons and apparently contained in its body a lot of elemental gold, followed by LAHMU (Mars), LAHAMU (Venus) and MUMMU (Mercury). Note that in the beginning the Earth did not yet exist in their cosmology. A further planet passing in interstellar space, was captured by the Sun's gravitational field, its 'attractive net', and settled into a far-flung retrograde orbit lasting 3,600 earth years. It was a reddish planet sustained by internally generated heat and had a thick atmosphere. Since during its orbit around APSU it crossed all the other planetary orbits, it was named NI.BIRU or 'the planet of the Crossing'. Symbols depicting NI.BIRU are below.


NI.BIRU was not one of APSU's original family and at first did not settle comfortably into the solar system. In a catastrophic collision, some of NI.BIRU's moons smashed into TIAMAT, shattering the planet into fragments which arranged themselves in an orbit between KISHAR (Jupiter) and LAHMU (Mars). In the 'Enuma Elish' these remnants are called the 'Hammered Bracelet'. This is the position occupied by the asteroid belt today. A very large fragment of TIAMAT together with one of NI.BIRU or TIAMAT's larger moons called KINGU, was flung away towards APSU (the Sun). The linked pair became KI - the Earth and it's unnaturally large moon, KINGU.

(It is interesting to note that the Sumerians knew that Pluto had an eccentric orbit, which sometimes took it closer to APSU than it neighbour, Neptune; that ANU lay on its side, with its axis parallel to the ecliptic unlike all the other planets and that both ANSHAR and ANU were watery blue planets. Note that Pluto, Neptune and Uranus were only rediscovered during the last two centuries. Contemporary astronomical calculations require the existence of a planet of NI.BIRU's description at a distance of 3-4,000 kilometres from the sun in order to maintain the stability of the solar orbital system. Called by NASA, 'Planet X', this 'suspected' planet has been spotted, denied, reported classified etc. Neptune was in fact the first planet found by mathematical prediction rather than by observation.)

The seven clay tablets of the 'Atrahasis' tell that NI.BIRU was inhabited by anthropomorphic beings, hominids, and describes the generations and dynasties of its rulers, their wars and their struggle for survival when the planet's atmosphere was damaged. In an effort to heal and replenish their atmosphere the inhabitants of NI.BIRU tried to stimulate volcanic activity with explosive devices. When this failed, they tried to protect the rents in the atmosphere with a shield of finely suspended gold dust, similar to the gilded visors worn by contemporary astronauts. However NI.BIRU did not contain much gold and they knew that KI, the earth and the 'Hammered Bracelet' was rich in gold. The 'Hammered Bracelet' was very difficult and dangerous to access so they decided to come to KI to collect gold to save their planet.

The 'Atrahasis' describes the arrival of the NI.BURIANS on Earth, their difficulties obtaining the gold, the mutiny of the workers and the solution they found to their problem by creating a slave species of humanoids to relieve them of their toils. The humans understandably viewed these beings as 'gods' and certainly in later times the NI.BURIANS demanded that the humans worship them as divine beings. The Atrahasis texts record how the earthlings spread and populated the Earth, and eventually inherited the Earth when the 'gods' left and returned to their own world.

ANU, the ruler of NI.BIRU was the Sumerian god of sky and heaven. ANU and his spouse ANTU had two sons, EN.LIL and EA or EN.KI, who were half brothers. The Sumerian gods and their lineage were known as ANUNNAKI. 'AN' means heaven in the Sumerian language and 'KI' means the Earth, and AN.UN.NA.KI means 'those who came from heaven to earth.'

According to the time-scale used by the Sumerians, around two hundred and seventy thousand years ago there arrived on Earth a group of 50 ANUNNAKI. Their leader was EA meaning 'whose home is water'. He is sometimes represented as a man with the tail of a fish. EA was called Oannes ('EA the fish') by the Greeks, and was said to have ascended out of the Persian Gulf, shedding both water and fish as he emerged from the sea.)



Above is a Sumerian seal depicting Lord EN.KI, or EA, leaving the waters and stepping out onto the land for the first time. Notice the streams of water from his shoulders symbolizing that he was also Lord of the Waters. Also notice the winged deity awaiting EN.KI with the radiating beams from his shoulders. This 'god' was to be his chief furnace master in the 'AB.ZU' where later in the story, underground mining activity took place.
These newly arrived 'gods', EN.KI and his 50 comrades were referred to in the Bible as Elohim or Nefilim, the people of the 'shems', or celestial vehicles. In the Jewish Torah they are called ANAKIM. From place to place on the earth they travelled in vehicles called 'MU'. The original Sumerian term was SHU.MU, which in the bible narrative became 'Shem'.
Conveyances for use beyond the earth's atmosphere were called DIN.GIR. Pictured on the clay tablets in their script, the body of the vehicle was DIN :

A separately written pointed object was GIR :

When the two drawn characters were assembled they were featured as DIN.GIR :

When housed in a silo like vertical container, the vehicle was called KA.GIR :

Below is a more detailed Mesopotamian drawing of such an underground silo KA.GIR with
a DIN.GIR housed inside it.

The 'nose-cone' below of the KA.GIR depicted at the bottom right of my painting was inspired by the amazing sarcophagus lid from Palenque in Mexico featured below, which features a reclining figure operating some complex machine.

It is perhaps significant that the Sumerians or ANUNNAKI always start with Pluto when describing the planets and call KI (the Earth) the 'seventh planet'. This is what one would naturally experience if approaching the solar system from 'outside”!

At first the new arrivals had to drain the marshes, find food and build shelters. The place where they built the first settlement was called Eridu, from which is derived the word 'Earth'. Eridu was in the south of what is today Iraq.
The ANUNNAKI's sole purpose in coming to Earth was to procure gold or gold dust in order to create the suspended heat shield around their world. They were not colonists. Their first attempts to extract gold from the sea or collect alluvial gold were met with limited success and after further research using their MUs, a source of 'vein gold' was found in South and East Africa, a region which the Sumerians called the 'AB.ZU'. This 'vein gold' however, unlike the alluvial gold, had to be mined and refined, not just collected.
After the casting of lots it was decided that ANU would remain as regent on NI.BIRU. EN.LIL (Lord of the Command) would be in control of the whole mission, and in the region of Mesopotamia he would establish an E.DIN or 'home of the righteous ones'. EN.KI (now Lord of the Earth) would conduct the mining operation in the 'AB.ZU'. EN.KI was a scientist and though well suited to the task allotted him, he was by no means happy with the decision and felt side-lined. He was bitter because although he was the first born son of ANU, he was not first in the line of succession. EN.LIL had been born to ANU by a half-sister and according to the ANUNNAKI rules of succession, he was first in line for the throne after the demise of ANU. This feud was fuelled constantly by later events on Earth and has resulted in many stories of conflict between the gods of various mythologies throughout the world.

Above is an Olmec miner seen protected by EN.KI, also known as the snake god. He was later known as the Serpent in the Garden of Eden, or in the Sumerian E.DIN. Because the underground mining operation was much more labour intensive than collecting alluvial gold or extracting the gold from seawater, many more ANUNNAKI arrived on Earth and at their peak numbered six hundred. After a long period of extremely exhausting and difficult work mining in the AB.ZU, the workers rebelled and refused the strenuous labour.

The ANUNNAKI and later the Sumerians also, measured time in periods called SARs. Each SAR lasted 2,160 years, which was one twelfth of the time required for the procession of the equinoxes as recorded in Sumerian astrology. The Sumerians could only logically have inherited such an incredibly long unit for the measurement of time from a people who had themselves long enough lifetimes to have experienced such lengths of time. The 'gods' apparently did have such long lifetimes based on the 3,600 year orbit of NI.BIRU.

About 40 SARS or 80,000 years after their arrival, the ANUNNAKI workers in the Africa mutinied and burned their tools. EN.KI sided with them in principle, but the production of gold had to continue. It was at this impasse that EN.KI surprised an assembly of leaders in the E.DIN with a most innovative suggestion:

'Let us create a Primitive Worker who shall be capable of doing the work.'

When asked how this being would be created EN.KI told them that a being 'already exists' in the AB.ZU (in Africa) The description given in the clay tablets fits that of Homo Erectus. What they need to do he said, was to 'put the mark of the 'gods' on them'. (The white spots on the foreheads of the ANNUNAKI and of the created humans in my painting symbolize this mark.) This could only mean to manipulate them genetically so as to make a hominids which resembled the ANUNNAKI physically and mentally, one who could be 'charged with the service of the gods, that they might have their ease.'

In the Bible is stated: And Elohim (which is a plural form in Hebrew) said: 'Let us make Man in our image and after our likeness.'

EN.LIL was vehemently opposed to this plan. He said that they had not come to earth to 'play God'. The winged half-brothers in the top left of my painting symbolize this disagreement which, in spite of the accord reached due to the need for the gold, was to become a permanent source of tension between the two co-rulers.

The 'gods' describe the mixing of their own essence or DNA together with the eggs or clay of the primitive hominid which already existed in Africa, and incubating the resultant embryo in the wombs of seven ANUNNAKI females called 'birth-mothers'.

The medical nurse 'goddess' NINMAH, half-sister of EN.KI, plays a central role in the creation of the slave species of hominids. At first they experienced great difficulty in creating a successful and healthy specimen who could perform the tasks they required. From their initial efforts a variety of half-human beings resulted. Centaurs, a Minotaur, fauns and all sorts of odd and unlikely creatures populate ancient mythology and these beings likely portray NINMAH and EN.KI's failed attempts. At first they used vessels of crystal from NI.BIRU to mix the essences, but this did not work. When they finally used vessels made of clay from the earth, the first successful pair were created.


'Homo Sapiens' had been born. They were named in the Sumerian epic, 'Adamu and Tiamat' and NINMAH exclaimed:

'I have created!
My hands have made it!'
'How good or how bad is man's body?
as my heart prompts me,
I can make its fate good or bad.'

Addressing the other ANUNNAKI, she said with obvious pride:

'I have done away with your heavy forced labour,
I have imposed your drudgery on man.'

NINMAH is seen here together with her flasks and instruments. In my painting she is pictured together with the seven 'birth-goddess' who were needed initially as surrogate mothers to bring to term the embryos of the newly created species. The Baobab tree in the background and EN.KI's crocodile skin cape establish that this momentous event took place in Southern Africa, The chameleon seen in the tree, is an important player in many African creation epics. It was the chameleon that was sent down to inspect the new world after the Creation. The chameleon was sent to spy, and for this reason many African people look upon the chameleon with suspicion and fear.

In the Sumerian language and also in Persian, 'Hu-man' means 'god-man'. According to the Atrahasis texts, the male, called Adamu was black-headed and had a smooth reddish skin, although the birth-mothers including the first one, NINMAH herself, were fair-skinned. The first female human, Tiamat, was as white-skinned as were the 'gods' themselves. It appears that race differences were inherent in the initial creation of mankind.
Further translations inform us that the first created couple, Adamu and Tiamat who were kept in the E.DIN, were not able to procreate without further genetic modification. It was essential that they should be able to breed so that it might no longer be necessary to use the birth-goddesses for incubation of the embryos. That was essentially a slow process, and the gods working in the mines were getting restless and impatient and demanded the delivery of the Primitive Workers they had been promised. EN.KI in the role of the Serpent, then conducted further genetic manipulation which made it possible for the humans to breed. EN.LIL was furious and again he accused EN.KI of 'playing God'. He feared that soon man would eat of the 'Tree of Life' and thus acquire the longevity which the ANUNNAKI seemed to possess. EN.LIL banished Adamu and Tiamat from the E.DIN, but since they were now able to procreate, the human race multiplied.

After some time had passed EN.KI discovered that the first generation of black-headed humans produced by the initial process, gradually regressed and began to lose their promising faculties. They were no longer as useful as they had been at first. They continued to breed however and in the AB.ZU (in Africa), the miners had their relief workers as they had been promised.

To further his quest to produce a 'civilized man', EN.KI personally inseminated two earthling females who gave birth to a son and daughter. They were named Adapu and Titi. These two new humans were bright and intelligent and were brought up in the home of EN.KI as children of the 'gods'. This mirrors the raising of Moses in the house of the Pharaoh which took place many generations later. Adapu and Titi were able to procreate and did not regress as they grew older. Adapu and Titi had two sons who were named and Abael, and later a third son named Seth was born to them, as were many other offspring.
According to the aim of the gods, 'civilized man' had been created. A step up in evolution from Homo Sapiens, these may well have been the first 'Homo Sapiens Sapiens' from whom have descended the whole of the human race.

It appears that the Sumerian gods in general, had absolutely no interest in mankind other than his usefulness to them as a slave. EN.LIL had been against their creation and particularly their procreation from the time of the mutiny. About 13,000 years ago the gravitational stress incurred by the nearby orbital passage of NI.BIRU caused the Antarctic ice-shelf to dislodge and slide into the southern oceans. A massive tidal wave occurred and resulted in the flood of antiquity. A series of natural events which the ANUNNAKI had observed, had convinced them that a massive flood would occur, and EN.LIL saw this as an opportunity to drown and destroy the humans altogether.

However EN.KI, who was man's co-creator, always protected the humans against the repeated efforts of his half-brother to bring them harm. By secretly instructing Ziusudra (also known as Utnapishtim or Noah) to build a boat and take on board all the seed (DNA) of the animals and plants, EN.KI ensured the survival of the human race and of many forms of life which would otherwise have perished in the flood. EN.LIL is often portrayed in the Old Testament as a wrathful 'God', whose relationship with humans was entirely self-serving. He was opposed to their very existence and his sole motivation was to use and manipulate, oppress and control them. During the years after the flood, armies of humans were used by the 'gods' to fight in the wars which the 'gods' waged amongst themselves.

After the waters of the flood had receded and the ANUNNAKI 'gods' realized and acknowledged to each other that they had come to depend greatly on the humans who had survived. Even EN.LIL ultimately came to regard their existence as 'destiny', which they considered inevitable, as opposed to 'fate', over which they believed they had some control. They decided to assist mankind to achieve a certain limited degree of independence. They introduced the concept of 'Kingship' so that via intermediaries whom they appointed, they could better control mankind. They established a priest class and temples and shrines so that they, as man's 'Creator' could be worshipped by the humans.

The right hand section of the painting portrays DUMUZI, who brought to Earth from NI.BIRU, the four-legged beasts of the field, specifically sheep and probably cows as well, and also wheat and bees which had not formerly existed on Earth. The purpose of this 'benevolence' was initially to enable the earthlings to provide food for the 'gods'.

In one final war of the 'gods', by means of terrible weapons of mass destruction, Sodom and Gomorrah as well as the ANUNNAKI settlements in the Sinai Peninsula were destroyed, and much of the surface ground from the Dead Sea to North Africa was vitrified and scorched. Unexpectedly, in the aftermath of this devastation, winds from the Atlantic blew the by-products of these weapons westwards. Evil-bearing winds swept over Mesopotamia killing everything in their path. There was no escape. The ANUNNAKI leaders fled to higher ground in the area of Baalbek, in present day Lebanon. Only Babylon to the north was spared.

Perhaps as a result of this disaster, coupled with the fact that the gold, was either no longer abundant, or was no longer needed, the 'gods' decided to leave the Earth in stages. (around 4,000 BC). Before leaving, the 'gods' in an attempt to assist man in his struggle to survive and to prosper, decided to pass on to him all kinds of knowledge and skills. This seems to indicate that they were not totally amoral, or without some compassion for the creature they had created.

In the upper right of the painting is a winged image of a resigned EN.LIL, finally giving his blessing to mankind, the inheritors of the Earth. Much history and other information was dictated to Sumerian priests and scribes by the ANUNNAKI 'gods'. This would explain the otherwise inconceivably rapid emergence 6,000 years ago, of a highly developed civilization with an unprecedented degree of technical sophistication, and areas of knowledge which they could not possibly have acquired by themselves. I refer particularly to knowledge of the planets described in detail by the Sumerians, knowledge which has only been recently re-discovered during the last 200 years. They also left detailed records of an evolved system of administration and of legal and ethical practises based on surprisingly humane principles. The first indigenous civilization appeared in Sumer and with the help of the 'gods' seems to have prospered and flourished.

I am not an academic or a historian, but I find magic in this history and I have attempted to impart that magic to a work of art. Note that I have used in this painting verifiable artefacts and ideas that have been recorded in the Mesopotamian clay tablets and in Biblical and other scriptures and sacred writings.

Raymond Andrews – Artist.