Old Babylonian Hematite Cylinder Seal with Warrior Kings

£ 850.00

A finely engraved Old Babylonian hematite cylinder seal, with fully-arranged religious motifs. The seal displays a short-skirted, round-copped warrior king facing another round-capped male figure who is wearing a full-length skirt and is raising his left hand. The warrior king is carrying a mace in front of his chest and is followed by a male deity who is wearing a long, iconic flounced garment. A long sceptre, with a swirled staff and two protuberances that terminate into feline heads, is depicted in between them. A bow-legged dwarf, an abstract standing bull, a double-forked lightning bolt, a spear head and a crescent are placed amidst the figures. This seal has been horizontally perforated, suggesting it was once used to roll over the clay surface to impress administrative records and images.

The seal impression is for reference only.

Date: Circa 2000 BC
Condition: Excellent Condition.


SKU: PP-02 Category: Tags: , ,

Mesopotamia was the cradle for glyptic arts. Cylinder seals, featuring zoomorphic-decorated knobs and finely engraved religious scenes, first appeared in the Uruk period (ca 3500-3000 BC). Images seen on the Old Babylonian cylinder seals bear great resemblances to the earlier prototypes of the preceding dynasties. Cylinder seals were used to roll authenticating seals to officiate or notarise a document, usually on wet clay. Seals were hugely important in the ancient world for administration and commerce, they allowed for official legal transactions and the establishment of efficient bureaucracy. While they were important official objects, they were also worn as jewellery and amulets, thought to be in part as a way to have the seal constantly conveniently available to its owner. Hematite was a common material for cylinder seals, along with obsidian, steatite, lapis lazuli, amethyst, and carnelian.

To find out more about cylinder seals, please see our relevant blog post: Mesopotamian cylinder seals

Weight 10.6 g
Dimensions H 2.3 cm

Semi-Precious Stones


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