Syro-Hittite Black Hardstone Stamp Seal with Mythological Creature


A Syro-Hittite, pyramidal, stamp seal carved from black hardstone marked with natural streaks of brown and white. Finely engraved on the flat base is a winged mythological creature, possibly a chimera or sphinx, presented advancing towards the left. The creature features three heads: a human head with a conical headpiece, emerging from above the lion’s head and a further head can be seen at the end of its tail in the form of a dragon’s head. The facial and anatomical features, including the sharp claws and long feathers, have been carefully depicted through delicate incisions. A crescent motif is visible in the field above the creature’s wings. To the reverse, the seal is perforated horizontally for suspension.

The piece comes with a museum-quality impression.

Date: Circa 1st Millennium BC
Provenance: Collected from 1969-1999. From the collection of the late Mr S.M., London, UK.
Condition: Excellent condition. The seal itself weighs 11.5g

In stock

SKU: CY-200 Category: Tags: , ,

Neo-Hittite and Syro-Hittite were empires during the Iron Age and were located in parts of modern-day Turkey and the surrounding areas. The empire lasted until the 8th century BC when they were overrun by the Assyrians. Fantastic creatures, such as the three-headed figure seen on this seal, were one of the motifs found on stone slabs which decorated the walls of Syro-Hittite palaces and temples to ward off evil. Some believe this creature was a predecessor of the Greek chimera. A female monstrous creature featuring a lion’s head and body with a goat’s head on its back and a tail ending in the head of a snake or dragon. It was said to be inhabited in Anatolia, one of the Syro-Hittite states.

Weight 15.0 g
Dimensions L 2.5 x W 2.1 x H 1.8 cm



Reference: For a similar depiction of the creature, Museum of Fine Arts Boston, item 1996.61

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