Bactrian Circular Bronze Compartmented Stamp Seal with Greek Cross

£ 95.00

A fine Western Asiatic Bactrian bronze seal stamp featuring a wheel shape and a decorative geometric motif. At it’s centre is a Greek cross motif, connected to an outer band via three struts from each arm, resembling a trident shape. The design is created with the open-work technique, with a flat face and back. An outer band of grooved metal encircles the openwork at the centre, demarcated into quarters by short struts. Earthly encrustation and an attractive green patination cover the surface.

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


Date: Circa 2300 - 2000 BC
Condition: Good Condition with earthly encrustation, patination, sligtly bent rim


SKU: SM-25 Category: Tags: , ,

Bactria was a historical region in Central Asia, covering areas of modern-day Afghanistan, Uzbekistan and Tajikistan. 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-organisanised 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 13.9 g
Dimensions L 3.8 x W 3.8 x H 1.2 cm



You may also like…