Mesopotamian Alabaster Stamp Seal with Animals


A Mesopotamian domed, alabaster stamp seal from the Jemdet Nasr period engraved with two animal motifs on the base in the form of stylised leaping quadrupeds. Both animals have their legs out stretched and are adjacent to each other. The seal has been pierced longitudinally for suspension, which is a common trait of other Mesopotamian stamps seals. This seal comes with a professionally baked, modern impression to reveal the stamp.

Date: Circa 3200-3000 BC
Provenance: Acquired 1970-1999. Property of a late Mayfair, London, gentleman, by descent.
Condition: Excellent condition

In stock

SKU: AG-47 Category: Tag:

The Jemdet Nasr Period took place in southern Mesopotamia with a great number of administrative cuneiform tablets and seals coming from this area. The stamp seal was a carved object, usually made of stone, which first appeared in the fourth millennium BC and was used to impress pictures or descriptions into soft, prepared clay. They were used as an administrative tool, in that they were used much like a signature is used today. These seals guaranteed the authenticity of marked ownership: as such, they were instrumental in legal transactions, and in the protection of goods against theft. Seal amulets with stylised animals have been found throughout Mesopotamia in contexts dating to the late fourth millennium BC, although stamp seals and cylinder seals were the predominant types in the ancient Near East. Traditional Mesopotamian seals, like this one, had a profound aesthetic influence on the peripheral regions.

For more about stamp seals, see our relevant blog post: Making their Mark: A Concise Guide to Western Asiatic Stamp Seals


Weight 19.7 g
Dimensions W 3.2 cm



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