This lot comprises two old Old-Babylonian cylinder seals. The larger is made from Hematite and the smaller from Lapis Lazuli. Both show deep relief carving and a central drilled channel for suspension. The Hematite seal forms the impression of a worship scene with high priests and confronting mythical creatures with a sun symbol in-between. The Lapis seal features a row of confronting mythical creatures. The impressions are still very crisp – please see detail pictures.
Cylinder seals were used in ancient times to roll an impression onto a two-dimensional surface, generally wet clay. They were invented around 3500 BC in the Near East and were used as an administrative tool, a form of signature, as well as jewelry. Cylinder seals were made from hard stones such as hematite, obsidian, steatite, amethyst, lapis lazuli or carnelian. Most seals have a hole running through the center of the body, and they are thought to have typically been worn on a necklace so that they were always available when needed.
Shape: Cylindrical shapes with central channel for suspension.
Dimensions: 3,7 cm (height of Hematite seal), 2,2 cm (Height of Lapis Lazuli seal)
Condition: Good condition with extensive hand patina
Provenance: Old Austrian Private collection, assembled in the 1930s to early 1950s
Literature comparison: For an interesting selection of Old-Babylonian cylinder seals and their impressions visit the webpage of the Spurlock Museum of World Cultures at the University of Illinois.