Bactrian Bronze Insect Stamp Seal


A Western Asiatic Bactrian stamp seal moulded from bronze. The seal features a circular disc enriched with a stylised insect at the centre. The insect displays an oval body with two pairs of legs out-splayed. Four semicircles decorate the background. The reverse is unadorned with the exception of a loop for suspension. There is wax residue to the seal from where it has been previously used.

Accompanied with a paper description signed by Professor W. G. Lambert, the famous Assyriologist.

Date: Circa 2300 - 2000 BC
Condition: Very fine condition, encrustation and patination to the surface.

In stock

SKU: LD-706 Category: Tags: ,

Bactria was a historical region in Central Asia. The object belongs to a large class of compartmented seals, characteristic of this region. The stamps were frequently produced in either copper or bronze and would feature distinctive figural or geometric patterns such as floral and cross motifs, or animals such as goats, snakes, scorpions and mythical beasts. These designs would be pressed into clay or wax and were often found on pottery, largely acting as identification of ownership.

Scholars disagree about their use, with suggestions that they were used for administrative control for production and were related to a well-organised trade system which involved transporting goods across long distances. Others suggest that they were symbols of power and property, or since large numbers have similar images, have been speculated to have the apotropaic features of amulets, protecting owners from evil rather than ownership.

By the 3rd millennium BC, stamp seals of this type were replaced with cylinder seals.

Weight 19.1 g
Dimensions W 3.8 cm



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