Neo-Assyrian Black Limestone Conical Seal with ‘Sacred Tree’ Motif
A finely engraved Neo-Assyrian conoid black limestone stamp seal, featuring a ’Sacred Tree’ motif with radiating pointed buds and surrounding inscription to its base. The Sacred Tree, or Tree of Life, is one of the oldest themes in ancient Near Eastern art.
The seal is accompanied with a museum-quality, baked modern impression.
Date: Circa 900-600 BC Provenance: Acquired 1969-1999. London collection of the late Mr S.M., thence by descent. Condition: Fine condition. Old collector's label remains on one face. Tip of the seal is chipped. Weighs 11.3 g with the impression.
Seals were often made of stone however there are also examples rendered in bone, ivory, faience, glass, metal, wood, and even sun-dried or baked clay. 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. Stamp seals and cylinder seals were the predominant types in the ancient Near East while seal amulets with stylised animals have been found throughout Mesopotamia in contexts dating to the late fourth millennium BC.
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