Height: 3.900 cm
Diameter: 2.550 cm
Acquired by E.A.W. Budge
Room 56: Mesopotamia
Greenstone seal of Adda
Akkadian, about 2300-2200 BC
Four of the principal Mesopotamian deities
This is one of the many high quality greenstone seals that were made when much of Mesopotamia was united under the military control of the kings of the city of Agade (Akkad). The cuneiform inscription identifies the owner of the seal as Adda, who is described as dubsar, or 'scribe'.
The figures can be identified as gods by their pointed hats with multiple horns. The figure with streams of water and fish flowing from his shoulders is Ea (Sumerian Enki), god of subterranean waters and of wisdom. Behind him stands Usimu, his two-faced vizier (chief minister).
At the centre of the scene is the sun-god, Shamash (Sumerian Utu), with rays rising from his shoulders. He is cutting his way through the mountains in order to rise at dawn.
To his left is a winged goddess, Ishtar (Sumerian Inanna). The weapons rising from her shoulders symbolise her warlike characteristics; she also holds a cluster of dates.
The god armed with a bow and quiver has not been identified with certainty, but may represent a hunting god like Nusku.
J.E. Reade, Mesopotamia (London, The British Museum Press, 1991)
D. Collon, First impressions: cylinder se (London, The British Museum Press, 1987)
D. Collon, Catalogue of the Western Asi-1 (London, 1982)