Pair of Kassite Silver Cylinder Seals with Figures and Inscriptions
An unusually rare pair of Kassite, hollow-formed, silver cylinder seals. The larger, outer seal features a faceted face, engraved with a votive scene. It depicts a standing bearded male figure, depicted wearing a knee-length garment and holding a mace in his left hand. He faces a suppliant goddess, portrayed with raised arms and wearing a horned headdress and a tiered robe. There are three lines of framed cuneiform inscription, running in vertical registers behind the standing male figure.
The smaller seal is engraved with a horizontal frieze depicting tall slender figures flanking an ankh symbol. This smaller seal fits within the larger seal.
The seals are accompanied with museum-quality, baked modern impressions.
Price indicated for the pair.
Circa 13th-12th Century BCProvenance:
From an important family collection.Examined by Professor Wilfrid George Lambert FBA (1926-2011), historian, archaeologist, and specialist in Assyriology and Near Eastern archaeology, in the late 1980s and early 1990s.Condition:
Fine condition, slightly tarnished. Weighs 10.9g with the impressions. Seals themselves weigh 7.6g for the pair.
Seals were often made of stone however there are also examples rendered in bone, ivory, faience, glass, wood, and metal, like this fine example. 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.
The Kassite Dynasty was a Western Asiatic ruling elite who are thought to have originated from the Zagros Mountains, ruling Babylon from 1595 and 1155 BC. Whilst they were a non-Babylonian class, they assimilated the Babylonian culture into their own, respecting the people’s culture and heritage. The Kassite period of rule is still largely undocumented however, with sources scarce and the majority having been discovered in Nippur. What is known however is that a period of peace and security provided the perfect conditions for culture and society to flourish.