Amethyst panoply seal

Mycenaean, 1600-1300 BC
From Greece

A warrior goddess carved on an amethyst seal

This lentoid (lens-shaped) seal-stone is made of amethyst and shows an armed figure. A large figure-of-eight shield completely covers the figure's body, while the head is protected and concealed by a plumed boar's tusk helmet. This was the high-status helmet of the Mycenaean warrior, made of rows of carved boar's tusk sewn onto leather. Each outstretched arm of the figure holds a sword aloft. Below the arms, the figure is flanked by two objects that are difficult to identify.

The armed figure may be a Mycenaean warrior, but is more probably a warrior goddess worshipped by the Mycenaeans. In fact the wearer of the armour is almost hidden: only the spindly arms are visible, giving the impression that the panoply (group of armour) is itself venerated in an animated form. A similar figure is depicted being worshipped on a painted limestone tablet from Mycenae.

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More information

Bibliography

Lord William Taylour, The Mycenaeans (London, Thames and Hudson, 1983)

R.A. Higgins, Minoan and Mycenean art, new revised edition (London, Thames & Hudson, 1997)

Dimensions

Diameter: 1.800 cm

Museum number

GR 1935.4-30.1

GAA6378

Location

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