Circular Compartmented Stamp Seal

£ 95.00

A fine Western Asiatic Bactrian bronze seal stamp featuring a wheel shape and a simple geometric motif consisting of perpendicular intersecting lines, breaking the design into eight segments. 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 turquoise patination to 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 and patination


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 ownersip.

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 demonstrating ownership.

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

Weight 20.7 g
Dimensions L 3.3 x W 3.4 x H 1.7 cm