Chalcedony Sassanian Stamp Seal of a Nobel Female Holding Tulips

£ 250.00

A finely engraved Sassanian chalcedony ring-shaped stamp seal, featuring an oval shaped bezel with an engraved figure. The seal depicts the profile of a woman, who is portrayed facing left (right on the impression). As is typical of other examples, she wears a long robe and cape, and within her raised hands she holds a bunch of tulips, engraved in the abstract Sassanian style. Her ankle-length garment, is further incised with linear patterns, signifying the pleated decorations on her robe. A long, incised line, extends from her capped headdress, probably suggesting the lock of her hair. The seal is perforated centrally for suspension.

Date: Circa 3rd century AD
Provenance: Ex Robin Symes Ancient Art Mayfair dealership acquired before 1995.
Condition: Very fine condition, with minor chips around the horizontal perforation


Sassanian depictions of a robed noble female, holding a flower stem, have been interpreted as having a strong association with fertility and a blessed marriage. Based on the depicted images of this genre, rings and tulips are interchangeable within similar contexts. Tulips embraced strong religious implications for fertility in the Sassanian empire, and the ring, held in a female figure’s hand is a clear symbol of marriage. Thus, this type of image has been associated with fertility and marriage. Further examples show a variation of styles, and also depict the woman seated, possibly holding a child or under an elegant archway. Whilst there are multiple variations, the general message of the scene is still prevalent and there is a clear association with fertility and sanctimonious femininity.

Weight 8.6 g
Dimensions L 2.2 x W 1.1 x H 1.9 cm


Semi-Precious Stones

Reference: For similar: The British Museum, London, item 119608

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