Mesopotamian Marble Seal Amulet

£ 500.00

A very fine Mesopotamian marble seal amulet carved in the shape of a reclining animal, most likely an antelope or bull. The object is carved in high relief on one side to form a stylized sloping neck and head of an animal with a rounded snout and horns pointing backwards from the head. The head is shown turned in profile as though resting against the animal’s side. The body is depicted as a rounded, oblong shape, without visible legs, as though they are tucked beneath the animal’s torso. The reverse is flat, with a number of circular and linear incisions that would have formed the seal. The object is pierced transversely for suspension.

Date: Circa 4th – 3rd Millennium BC.
Provenance: Ex SM, Mayfair London collection 1970-99, thence by descent.
Condition: Very fine.
Product Code: NES-110
Category: Tag:

In Ancient Mesopotamia, seals played important roles in both government and daily life. Carvings on the reverse of the seal would have made an impression when pressed into damp clay. Small seals like this one were pressed into small lumps of clay that were used to seal the lids of jars and doors of chests, identifying the owner of the sealed object and discouraging its unauthorised opening. Seals were also believed to have protective qualities and were thus punctured by a small hole to be worn as a necklace or attached to clothing as a charm.

To discover more about Ancient Mesopotamia, please visit our relevant blog post: Civilisations of the Ancient Near East and Mesopotamia.

Dimensions L 1.9 x W 1.4 cm

Near East (Western Asiatic)



Reference: For a similar item, The British Museum, accession number 120975.

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