A fine black stone stamp seal from the Near East. The seal bears the engraving of a winged man with his arms raised, possibly a depiction of the god Ninurtu. Great detailing has been given to the plumage of the wings and to the man’s robes, head and facial features. The man stands on a reptilian-like figure, possibly representing the god Anzu. The seal is pierced for suspension, suggesting the owner could have also worn it as an ornament.
Date: Circa 9th-8th century BC. Condition: Very fine condition
The earliest glyphic art emerged in the fertile plain of the Two Rivers around the beginning of the 5th millennium BC. Despite Mesopotamian civilisation having lifted the veil of the earliest phase of seals, complicated and yet well-arranged images and excellent engraving skills credit traditional Mesopotamian seals as the cradle for the Ancient Near Eastern glyphic arts.
Ninurtu was in his earliest worship a deity of agriculture, hunting, law and scribes. As his popularity grew, he became known as a formidable warrior, although still retained his agricultural attributes. He was closely associated with the Assyrian Empire but was worshiped as early as the middle of the 3rd Millennium BC by the Sumerians. He is sometimes shown riding a beast with the body of a lion and the tail of a scorpion. The figure he stands upon on this seal could thus be his famous mount or the lion-headed bird, Anzu.
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