During the Iron Age, Mesopotamian glyphic traditions had a great impact on Levantine seals. Fine examples, such as this stamp seal, reflect the flourishing cultural and aesthetic exchanges that occurred between these two regions. Motifs that are distinctly known to the Assyrian period can be detected on numerous Levantine stamp seals dating to the Iron Age period with inspiration also coming from Egypt, evident in the scaraboid form of many Levantine seals. Griffins or gryphons, one of the most favoured motifs, were frequently used by Akkadian artists on cylinder seals. They were known as the Eagle-headed lion within Mesopotamian religion and mythology, representing the Akkadian god Anzu, a deity linked with the wind, thunder and clouds.
Southern Levantine Red Stone Scaraboid Seal with Griffin
A Southern Levantine scaraboid stamp seal moulded from deep red limestone. The seal’s slightly domed top remains smooth and unadorned whilst the flat base displays a figurative scene divided into two registers. An advancing winged animal, possibly a griffin, features on the upper register. These composite mythological creatures, embodying features of both a lion and an eagle, were associated with power and thought to guard treasures. Below is a schematic alate solar disc depicted with a floral sprout. The seal is pierced longitudinally for suspension, suggesting the owner could have also worn it as an ornament. The item is accompanied by a museum-quality impression.
Provenance: From an important collection, London, UK, 1970-1999; thence by descent.
Condition: Very fine condition