Bronze Compartmented Stamp Seal with Greek Cross


A fine Western Asiatic Bactrian bronze seal stamp featuring a quatrefoil design and scalloped outer edges. The object consists of a central Greek cross, the arms of which branch into curving bands that merge smoothly to create a fluid motif. The design is open work with a flat face and a flat back. A lug handle is mounted on the reverse and pierced for suspension, forming a rounded peak. Earthly encrustation and an attractive patination to the surface. The outer rim is slightly deformed and the handle is worn thin.

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, the rim is damaged


SKU: SM-23 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 21.4 g
Dimensions L 4.5 x W 4.5 x H 1.9 cm



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