Near Eastern Urartu Bell-shaped Seal


A Western Asiatic Urartu alabaster stamp seal carved formed into a stylised bell-shape with incised motif to the base. The barrel-shaped body leads to a large loop handle and flares outwards at the base, which is slightly rounded. An incised motif decorates the base, a series of small lines, most possibly representing a mythical animal.

Date: Circa 8th - 7th century BC
Provenance: Ex major S.M., London, Collection 1970-2010.
Condition: Very fine condition. Motif hard to distinguish. Impression not included with item.


SKU: AH-963 Category: Tags: ,

In the ancient world, seals guaranteed the authenticity of marked ownership. As such, they were instrumental in legal transactions, and in the protection of goods against theft. Mesopotamia has been regarded as the cradle of ancient glyphic arts, with the earliest cylinder seals proven to have been firstly executed during the Bronze Age, circa 4th Millennium BC. Each following period in ancient Mesopotamian history contributed in developing styles and techniques of glyphic arts. Zoomorphic, mythical creatures and religious or cultic scenes are one of the most favoured decorative repertoires applied on seals of the period.

Urartu was an Iron Age kingdom situated between Asia Minor, Mesopotamia, and the Caucasus mountains, in what was later to be known as the Armenian Highlands. The kingdom was centred around Lake Van and corresponds to the biblical Kingdom of Ararat. Urartu refers predominantly to the region, whilst the term “kingdom of Urartu” is used for the Iron Age state that developed in that region. The Urartu language is known to us from cuneiform inscriptions and was similar to the language spoken by the Hurrians.

Weight 5.3 g
Dimensions L 2.5 x W 1.9 cm



Reference: For similar base motif: The Metropolitan Museum, New York, item 1981.325

You may also like…