Early Elamite Stone Cylinder Seal with a Religious Scene


A finely engraved Elamite stone cylinder seal, featuring a horizontal frieze that presents a full, Mesopotamian-styled religious scene in Elamite linear glyphic practices. Within this scene, an ankle-length garmented male deity, is presented standing in profile solemnly. He is depicted with a capped headdress and he holds a recumbent deer in front of his chest. Before him is a squatting quadruped, possibly a dog, its head raised high, which looks upon the standing god. This gesture of adoration is echoed by a clean-shaven, kilted male worshipper who stands behind, his right hand raised above his head in a worshipping gesture. They are followed by a heraldic group, including a priest, two ibexes and a horned bull. They are portrayed in an iconic herding scene that is frequently seen on early Mesopotamian prototypes. The male priest is depicted bearded and wearing a rounded cap and a short skirt, and holds two sticks to herd the ruminants standing in front of him. The animals’ bodies are depicted through the use of elongated cylindrical shapes, whilst their facial features and swirled, curved horns are depicted naturalistically.

Above the religious scene, a radiant sun motif and three pottery vessels are bordered by a frieze and carved in fine detail. These three pottery vessels feature various body shapes, ranging from tall storage jars with a bulbous body and a high neck to a squat, globular shape with a modelled handle. This small frieze acts as a filler ornament to the rest of the scene.

Date: Circa 3150 to 2800 BC
Provenance: From the collection of a deceased gentleman pre1988, by descent to the extended family in Geneva to London.
Condition: Fine condition. This cylinder seal is unperforated. Seal impression not included with piece.


SKU: HL-317 Category: Tags: , , ,

On the Uruk cylinder seals, priests, greenery, and ruminants in a heraldic group, conventionally expresses a strong religious implication that is associated with the fertility god Dumuzid. The god was worshipped as a significant male deity, who possessed protective power over herds and plants, representing fertility and resurrection within the traditional Mesopotamian religion. He was considered the consort of the goddess Ishtar and together, their cult was worshipped until the 11th century AD.

The combined religious and pastoral scenes represented here indicate a wider stylistic impact  had on Syrian and Elamite glyptic arts, directly influence by Mesopotamian glyptic art . However, the inclusion of  the pottery motifs with traditional heraldic representations has been considered a creative style invented by local Syrian glyptic artists.

Weight 30.9 g
Dimensions W 2.2 x H 3.2 cm



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