Hematite cylinder seal of Habde-Adad

Old Babylonian Dynasty, about 19th century BC
From Mesopotamia

The design on this cylinder seal shows a typical scene of the nineteenth century BC of a presentation to a god. A king carries an animal offering, while behind him stands a goddess or lamma. A lamma is often shown leading the worshipper before the god but here she stands with her hands raised in prayer. The god holds a knife or saw, identifying him as Shamash, god of the sun and justice.

The cuneiform inscription identifies the seal owner as 'Habde-Adad, servant of the king Ibiq-Adad'. At the time in northern Mesopotamia, around Babylon and Eshnunna, various Amorite and West Semitic princes were gaining control of cities. Ipiq-Adad II was an Amorite ruler whose dynasty had taken control of Eshnunna, north-east of modern Baghdad. He began to use seals with typical Babylonian designs.

The seal was part of a collection of antiquities assembled by Claudius James Rich, the first British Resident in Baghdad in the early years of the nineteenth century. Rich's collection formed the foundations for The British Museum's Mesopotamian collection in 1825.

Find in the collection online

More information


D. Collon, First impressions: cylinder se (London, The British Museum Press, 1987)

D. Collon, Catalogue of the Western Asi-2 (London, 1986)


Height: 2.400 cm
Diameter: 1.300 cm

Museum number

ME 89298


Acquired in 1825 from the Claudius James Rich Collection


Find in the collection online

Search highlights

There are over 4,000 highlight objects to explore