MA1705

A Sumerian Marble Bull Stamp Seal, Late Uruk/Jemdet Nasr Period, ca. 3100-2900 B.C.

sensitively modeled from marble, rendered in the form of a reclining bull with small vertically drilled eyes, its horns curving forward on its head with its leg bent. Horizontally pierced on the sides for attachment, the underside with two stylized animals.

Background: For the early Sumerians the bull symbolized divinity and power. Their chief gods Enlil and Enki would be honored as the “Great Bull” in song and ritual, and bulls would occasionally be represented on stamp seals with the gods. Images of bull sacrifice has also been found engraved on Sumerian seals. The scenes depicting a bull being stabbed in the throat could be the first evidence of bull sacrificial rites in history. Representations of human-headed bulls as well as bull-headed humans have also been found. These hybrid representations may symbolize the dominance of man over wild animals or the power of intelligence over man’s animal instincts.

For related examples see: E. Moller, Ancient Near Eastern Seals in a Danish Collection, Copenhagen, 1992, pp. 10-18, nos 1-26. E. Gubel (ed.), A l'ombre de Babel: L'art du Proche-Orient Ancien dans les collections belges, Bruxelles, 1995, p. 41, no. 12.

Condition:   Intact and in excellent condition overall, a very finely carved example. 

Dimensions: length: 7/8 inch (2.2 cm)

Provenance: The John J. Slocum Collection:  Mr. Slocum (1914-1997) collected most of his antiquities while serving as US cultural attache to Egypt in the 1960s. Later, he served as Assistant to the Director of The Smithsonian, was appointed by President Reagan to the Presidential Cultural Property Advisory Committee, and was a Trustee Emeritus of the Archaeological Institute of America. He was a well-respected scholar/collector, whose medieval crusader coins were sold in a single-owner sale at Sotheby's, London in 1997.

A Near Eastern Bronze Bowl, Middle Bronze Age II, ca. 2100 - 1550 BC $1,200 USD
Quick View
A terracotta plaque of the Sumerian demon Humbaba, ca. 2nd millennium BC $2,500 USD
Quick View
* A large Burnished Double Handled Bowl, Iron Age I-II, ca. 1400 - 800 BC $2,500 USD
Quick View
An Amlash Terracotta Bird Vessel, Iron Age I-II, ca. 1400 - 800 BC $950 USD
Quick View

A Persian Turquoise Glazed Oil Lamp, Seljuk period, 12th -13th century $550 USD
Quick View
A large Canaanite Terracotta Pithos, Iron Age I-II, ca. 1400 - 800 BC $3,500 USD
Quick View
A good Amlash Terracotta Sieve, Iron Age I-II, ca. 1400 - 800 BC $1,950 USD
Quick View

An early Anatolian Stone Fertility Figure, ca. 3rd millennium BC $20,000 USD
Quick View
A decorated Persian Clay Bowl, Tepe Giyan ca. 1600-1200 BC $1,200 USD
Quick View
A Sumerian Calcite Cylinder Vessel, ca. 2100-1600 BC $5,000 USD
Quick View
A fine Western Asiatic Chlorite Pyxis, Proto-Elamite Period, ca 2600-2500 BC $17,500 USD
Quick View

Subscribe

Sign up today!