An Akkadian Calcite Cylinder Seal, Sargonid Period, ca. 2334–2154 B.C.

Finely carved in bold and detailed relief between two borderlines, this scene of combat shows a mirrored pair of contestants grapple with man-bulls. The bare-chested heroes stand back to back, they both wear a short divided kilt with raised hem, each with long beard that falls over their chest and a rounded cap with upturned brim. With both hands, each grasp a rampant human-headed bull by the forelegs. These man-bulls stand with their bodies facing the heroes, and their heads turned to show their full long, bearded man face with the horns, long beard, ears, and lower body of a bull, and wearing a horned crown of divinity.

In the seals deriving from the beginning of the Akkad period, the Early Dynastic frieze of closely interwoven figures gradually breaks up into two or three groups of contestants. Frequently a symmetrical effect is obtained by a duplication of the human-headed bull.

For related example see:  Pierpont Morgan Library. Morgan Seal 149 Seal no. 149

Condition: Minor signs of usage with deposits to one side, the seal is intact and in excellent condition overall. Presented on museum quality custom mount.

Dimensions: Height: 1 1/2 inches x .7 inches (37 mm x 18 mm)

Provenance: Private Texas collection, acquired in the 1950's and then by descent.


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