Seal amulets with stylised animals or fantasised zoomorphic figures, like this fine example, have been found throughout Mesopotamia in contexts dating to the late forth millennium BC, although stamp seals and cylinder seals were the predominant types in the ancient Near East.
Animals occupied a prominent place in ancient art across a number of civilisations and across a variety of media, including painting, pottery, and jewellery. Some animals were venerated, whilst others were sacrificed. Their depiction is thus endowed with significance in several contexts: in religious rituals, as mythical creatures, and as incarnations or symbols of gods and goddesses. Ibexes were one of the most widespread images in the ancient Near East and considered as a symbol of fertility, rebirth and rejuvenation in many cultures. The animal mainly appeared in hunting or religious scenes as well as in association with the ‘Tree of Life’.