Cylinder seal and modern impression: royal worshiper before a god on a throne; human-headed bulls below

Period: Old Syrian

Date: ca. 1820–1730 B.C.

Geography: Syria

Medium: Hematite

Dimensions: H. 0.8 in. (2 cm)

Classification: Stone-Cylinder Seals

Credit Line: Purchase, Raymond and Beverly Sackler Gift, 1991

Accession Number: 1991.368.5

Description

In the area that corresponds roughly with the boundaries of modern Syria and Lebanon, there arose in the first half of the second millennium B.C. many centers of culture that maintained contact with lands both to the east and the west. The seals produced in this region—in a number of local styles—often bear imagery and stylistic features that relate them to Egyptian and Aegean art.

The main scene on this cylinder seal depicts a worshiper (probably the king) before a divinity seated above two human-headed bulls. The god is enthroned on a stool with lion legs of a type known from actual contemporary remains in wood and ivory from both Egypt and Anatolia. The smaller images include a sphinx wearing an Egyptian crown, and an ankh, the Egyptian symbol for life, in the field.


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