A finely engraved cylinder seal dating to the Neo-Babylonian Dynasty, carved from black hematite. Despite being fragmentary, the seal bears the clear impression of a religious scene where deities and kings are presented in a finely rendered composition, centred by the representation of a sun disk or star. The figures are portrayed in solemn poses and wearing traditional Babylonian attires, strongly echoing images of kings and deities of contemporary reliefs. This cylinder seal is perforated horizontally for suspension. Given the extreme quality of the engraving and the media used, the seal might have belonged to a member of the court and used as an administrative tool.
Date: Circa 626-539BC Period: Neo-Babylonian Condition: Fragment of a complete piece. Otherwise intact and in fine condition.
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. Mesopotamia has been regarded as the cradle of ancient glyphic arts, with the earliest cylinder seals proven to have been firstly executed during the Bronze Age, circa 4th Millennium BC. Each following period in Ancient Mesopotamian history contributed in developing styles and techniques of glyphic arts. Zoomorphic, mythical creatures and religious scenes are one of the most favoured decorative repertoire applied on cylinder seals of the period.
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