Bactrian Bronze Snake Stamp Seal


A Western Asiatic Bactrian stamp seal moulded from bronze. The seal features an open work design displaying two snake heads facing each other. The design is mirrored with a band of shapes in between creating a symmetrical pattern. The reverse is unworked with the exception of a loop for suspension.

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

Date: Circa 2300 - 2000 BC
Condition: Fine condition, green patination and earthly encrustation covers the surface.

In stock

SKU: LD-705 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 19.7 g
Dimensions L 4 x W 3.7 cm



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