Western Asiatic Bronze and Lapis Lazuli Cylinder Seal Pendant


A fine, Western Asiatic seal, comprised of a cylindrical lapis lazuli body mounted between two bronze caps. The cap at the top of the seal has a loop attached for suspension. The seal is engraved with a frieze of human and animal combat scenes. A large bird, with wings unfurled, sits in the centre, flanked on either side by standing, four legged winged creature and two further figures. A large star appears at the top of the register. A museum quality impression is included with the seal.

Date: Circa 2400 - 2000 BC
Provenance: Private collection of Mr S.M., London, UK. Acquired 1979-1999.
Condition: Good condition, some green patina on the bronze elements.

In stock

SKU: MJ-05 Category: Tags: , , ,

The civilisations of Mesopotamia were a central point for the development of glyptic arts (meaning the craving or engraving of gemstones). Cylindrical seals first appeared in the Uruk period, circa 3500-3000 BC, and are known to be some of the earliest examples of personal signature. Seal motifs commonly include anthropomorphic figures, deities, real and mythical creatures, plants, and geometric patterns, arranged in unique configurations. Cylindrical seals, such as this example, were designed to be rolled across wet clay in order to make the impression, which could then be used to notarise or officiate a document. The ability to authenticate transactions was crucial to the development of commerce and official legal transactions within the bureaucracy of the ancient Near East.
The seals also served as jewellery and apotropaic amulets, used for the protection against evil. The gemstone lapis lazuli is known to have held these qualities, as well as being associated with royalty, wealth, strength, and truth. The bronze caps added to theis particular seal would have allowed it to be strung and worn around the neck, providing a convenient method of access for the owner.

To find out more about cylinder seals, please see our relevant blog post: Mesopotamian Cylinder Seals—Exploring Glyptic Images

Weight 10.0 g
Dimensions L 3.70 x W 1.30 cm



Semi-Precious Stones

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