Near Eastern Cream Hardstone Double-sided Seal Amulet with Zoomorphic Figures


A Near Eastern circular two-sided seal amulet produced from a cream hardstone. It features a horned zoomorphic figure, possibly ibex, to each side. Carved to one side is a leaping ibex, depicted with its head twisted backwards. Stylised foliage motifs decorate the background. The ibex on the other side is presented standing with curved decorations adorning the background. Both animals are portrayed in a stylised manner with their large eye and facial features carefully executed with carved circles and fine lines. The figures are further enriched with linear patterns across their bodies. The amulet is perforated longitudinally for suspension.

Date: Circa 1st Millennium BC
Provenance: Ex major S.M. collection, by descent, London, 1970-99.
Condition: Fine condition.


SKU: CY-111 Category: Tags: ,

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’.

Weight 25.8 g
Dimensions W 3.2 x H 1.2 cm



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