Cylinder seal and modern impression: Ishtar image and a worshiper below a canopy flanked by winged genies

Period: Neo-Assyrian

Date: ca. 8th–7th century B.C.

Geography: Mesopotamia

Culture: Assyrian

Medium: Chalcedony

Dimensions: H. 1 1/4 in. (3.1 cm)

Classification: Stone-Cylinder Seals

Credit Line: Gift of Martin and Sarah Cherkasky, 1989

Accession Number: 1989.361.1

Not on view
Seals of the early first millennium B.C. in Babylonia and Assyria were carved in the linear, drilled, cut, and modeled styles. The modeled style illustrated here derives from earlier Middle Assyrian seal carving and from the modeled sculpture in the palace of Sargon II (r. 721–705 B.C.), king of Assyria at Khorsabad. This style was used predominantly on seals showing scenes of contest and worship.

On this cylinder seal a statue of the goddess Ishtar stands on a platform within a canopied enclosure. Ishtar is identified by crossed quivers, a starred crown, and stars encircling her body. Two winged genies protect the enclosure, while a kneeling figure worships.
From 1986, on loan to the Museum by Martin and Sarah Cherkasky, New York (L.1986.47.2); acquired by the Museum in 1989, gift of Martin and Sarah Cherkasky, New York.

“Ancient Art in Miniature: Near Eastern Seals from the Collection of Martin and Sarah Cherkasky,” The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, September 10, 1987–January 10, 1988.

“Assyria to Iberia at the Dawn of the Classical Age,” The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, September 15, 2014–January 4, 2015.

Pittman, Holly, in collaboration with Joan Aruz. 1987. Ancient Art in Miniature: Near Eastern Seals from the Collection of Martin and Sarah Cherkasky. New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, no. 70, p. 71.

Annual Report of the Trustees of The Metropolitan Museum of Art 120 (July 1, 1989 - June 30, 1990), p. 12.

Wu, Xin. 2006. Mesopotamia: Process of a Civilization. Beijing World Art Museum: Chinese Cultural Relics Press (Chinese), p. 88.