Akkadian Cylinder Seal With Contest Scene


A green stone cylinder seal, with carved frieze of a nude hero in profile. The seal features an ibex and hero addorsed, with a winged creature, rearing lion, and facing horned mask between them. The seal is pierced for suspension and rolling, and is probably made of serpentine.

Date: Circa 2300 - 2000 BC
Period: Early - Middle Bronze Age
Provenance: Ex Rihani family collection, acquired 1980s.
Condition: Very fine condition.


SKU: AS-2037 Category: Tags: , , , ,

The Akkadian Empire was the first ancient Semitic-speaking empire of Mesopotamia, centred in the city of Akkad and its surrounding region.

A seal comprises a design carved onto a hard material: although most often made of stone, there are also examples rendered in bone, ivory, faience, glass, metal, wood, and even sun-dried or baked clay. In the ancient world, seals guaranteed the authenticity of marked ownership – as such, they were instrumental in legal transactions, and in the protection of goods against theft. Seal amulets with stylised animals have been found throughout Mesopotamia in contexts dating to the late fourth millennium BC, although stamp seals and cylinder seals were the predominant types in the ancient Near East.

Weight 17.4 g
Dimensions H 3 cm



Reference: Cf. Collon, D. First Impressions. Cylinder Seals in the Ancient Near East, London, 2005, p.32-36.