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A Neo-Assyrian Agate Cylinder Seal, ca.1049–609 B.C.

a Neo-Assyrian bi-colored agate cylinder seal depicting a hunting scene typical of Neo-Assyrian glyphic repertoires; here, an archer on one knee aims his strung bow at a grazing griffin, with fish in the field below, a star in the sky. This late cut style was particularly effective in conveying an impression of movement and animation, a feature also characteristic of seals from Elam.   Shown with modern roll.

Background: Stamp and cylinder seals are a crucial source for the art, history, and religion of the ancient Near East.  Their diminutive size belies the significant role they have played in human society. Although the particular conventions dictating their use have varied greatly, seals have been important both as makers of marks and as objects in their own right. As makers of marks, they were most often used as signatures indicating individual or institutional participation or agreement in a wide range of administrative activities; the image carried the weight of an authority recognized throughout the society. As objects they were works of art, signs of office or of status, heirlooms with personal or social meaning, or potent talismans to ward off evil spirits.  The rulers, gods, demons, and monsters that move in stately procession around the seals give us important insights into the real and magical worlds of the ancients. 

For related example see:  : Beatrice Teisser,  Ancient Near East Cylinder Seals From The Marcopoli Collection , catalogue number.179, fig. 264. 

Condition:  Intact with s everal small edge chips to the edges.   Overall in excellent condition, custom mounted with modern seal rollout.

Dimensions:  Height:  2 cm ( 0.78 inches) 

Provenance:  Private Texas collection, acquired in Syria in the early 1960's and then by descent.


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