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.
Neo-Babylonian Seal with Cultic Scene
A domed Neo-Babylonian stamp seal carved from dark jasper featuring an intaglio image of a cultic scene carved on the flat base. A stylized robed figure, with one arm raised upwards, stands before a stylised tree of life. The meaning of such imagery is still unknown and a much debated subject upon scholars. The item is pierced transversely for suspension, suggesting its owner might have also worn it as an ornament. The seal is accompanied with an impression.
Provenance: Ex important Mayfair collection by descent, 1970-1999.
Condition: Very fine condition, the intaglio is quite crisp in detailing.