Height: 2.710 cm
Diameter: 1.650 cm
Acquired from the John Robert Stewart Collection in 1846
Room 56: Mesopotamia
'Adam and Eve' cylinder seal
Post-Akkadian, about 2200 to 2100 BC
The tree, serpent and figures carved on this greenstone cylinder seal suggested to George Smith, an Assyriologist working in the British Museum between 1840 and 1876, that the scene was related to the Old Testament story of the temptation of Eve in the Garden of Eden.
In fact, the seal shows a scene that is common on seals of the twenty-third and twenty-second centuries BC, with a seated male figure (identified by his head-dress of horns as a god) facing a female worshipper. The date palm between them and the snake may be symbolic of fertility, but there is no reason to connect the scene with the story in the Book of Genesis.
T.C. Mitchell, The Bible in the British Museu (London, The British Museum Press, 1988)
D. Collon, Catalogue of the Western Asi-1 (London, 1982)