Let us see the Ishtar image once again.
She is standing on lions. There are owls on her sides.
In Hindu depictions, the female (mother) Goddess can be seen standing or sitting on tiger or lion or crocodile. She can be seen standing on corpse, buffalo or bull's head after killing that. The symbolism that is conveyed by all these is that the mother springs up into action when her children are threatened by any of the above mentioned entities. There is an olden saying in Tamil texts that the woman of the Tamil sangam times was so brave that she used to chase away the tiger by the grain- pad (called as 'MuRAm' in Tamil) she uses for cleaning grains. (This is how this pad looks! This is in use in Indian households even today.)
One wonders how this was possible. But thinking of the lifestyle of the ancients, the men-folk had gone out for collecting food and the women were at home taking care of their kids. The hamlets must have been surrounded by forests from which there was a constant threat from animals like lion and tiger. The brave mother must have been ever vigilant and could have never hesitated to push away the animal when it came near the house or her child. By nature the womenfolk of those early times must have been daring, strong and quick to respond to threats from animals to their children . That is why the adage on Tamil woman chasing the tiger with the pad had come to stay.
These women might have even learnt the tricks of taming tigers and lions so that they do not cause harm to her children. That is how the depiction of these animals as having been conquered by her had come to stay – which was shown by her either standing or sitting on these animals.
A depiction of this idea of female / mother power in tackling tigers and other animals is seen in the Indus tablets.