Length: 1.800 cm
Width: 1.400 cm
GR 1892.11-28.1 (Gem 527)
Room 72: Ancient Cyprus
Green plasma sealstone, attributed to the 'Semon Master'
Greek, about 500-480 BC
Said to be from near Limassol, Cyprus
An archer drawing his bow
The archer exerts a great force to draw his bow, with his whole body stretching against it. As the chief figure occupying the foreground of the scene, he is engraved at greater depth than the dog, the bow and the bow-case which jointly balance the remainder of the field.
The carving has been attributed to the 'Semon Master', so called after the Greek name on an engraved scarab now in the Staatliche Museen, Berlin. Careful examination of minute details of anatomy and facial features has enabled scholars to identify nine more sealstones engraved by the same hand. The heads and eyes are distinctive, as are the very muscular male figures with their powerful biceps and sinewy legs. It has been suggested that the engraver worked in the Greek east, and five more of the sealstones assigned to his hand have been found, like this example, in Cyprus.
Names are rare on Archaic Greek seals, and it is not known whether the name Semon is the name of the seal engraver or the owner of the seal.
J. Boardman, Archaic Greek gems (London, Thames & Hudson, 1968)