Lady Layard's Necklace
- Lady Layard's Necklace
Chalcedony cylinder seal; pale-grey, clouded; a beardless, proabably female worshipper (or priest?), wearing a head-scarf or fillet over her hair, which is in a bun, extends both hands, palm up, and stands facing right. Facing her is a beardless deity, probably a goddess, who wears a globular (? - chipped), horned head-dress and a vertically striated, tiered skirt which hangs open over a fringed kilt; she raises her right hand and holds a double ring of small and large drill-holes which encircles her. Behind her stands a bearded scorpion-man, who wears a globular, horned head-dress with a tassel or necklace counterweight hanging down behind, and has a double belt, below which his legs are those of a bird of prey (or perhaps a lion), indicated by drill-holes, with more drill-holes for his scorpion's tail; he carries a cone in his right hand and a bucket in his left. In front of the goddess are a crescent and a cross-legged table with a horizontal line above it; in front of the scorpion-man is a horizontal fish, swimming towards the right, and behind him are a centre-dot circle and a dagger with an ornamented hilt (or the wedge or stylus of Nabu?). A line border is visible along the bottom of the seal, and originally the seal probably had a line border round the top as well. This seal is mounted as an ear-ring (to match necklace) in a gold setting whose chevron design can be seen at the top and bottom of the seal impression. The seal may have been filed down to match the other ear-ring but the caps obscure the ends.
- 1837-1901 (setting)
- Excavated/Findspot: Kouyunjik (probably)
- (Asia,Iraq,North Iraq,Kouyunjik (Nineveh))
- Height: 2.15 centimetres
- Diameter: 1.25 centimetres
Part of a set of jewellery comprising necklace, ear-rings and bracelet given by Sir Austen Henry Layard to his bride, Enid; comprises of cylinder seals made up into a necklace, bracelet and two ear-rings in Victorian gold settings; made by Messrs Phillips of Cockspur Road; displayed in original shaped leather box lined with violet velvet; set of jewellery also recorded on file card big.no 115656.Lady Layard's necklace, made up from Assyrian and Babylonian cylinder and stamp seals, 105111-105128, set in gold mounts. Also two ear-rings and a bracelet.
The bracelet terminates at each end in lions' heads with barrel shaped links in their mouths. The bracelet is hollow cast with invisible hinges at each side. Inside the hoop is the applied gold trade label used by Phillips Brothers of London.
The necklace is made up of eleven cylinder seals and four stamp seals. The cylinder seals are drilled through the centre and capped with gold; the seperating links are in the form of hollow stamped double lotus buds. The three pendant stamp seals are surmonted by lions ' heads with graduated beading on the seals caps.
The ear-rings are each formed of chalcedony seals with a lion's head above and an ornament resembling a pine cone below.
The seal caps on both necklace and ear-rings are bordered with a chevron motif in applied wire, while at each end is a design of wirework ovals.
2013 - 2014 22 June - 6 Jan, Toronto, Royal Ontario Museum, 'Mesopotamia, Inventing Our World'
2013: 30 Jan-13 May, Museum of History, Hong Kong, 'The Wonders of Ancient Mesopotamia'
2012: 4 May-7 Oct, Melbourne Museum, 'The Wonders of Ancient Mesopotamia'
2008-2009 21 Sept-4 Jan, Boston, MFA, 'Art and Empire'
2007 2 Apr-30 Sept, Alicante, MARQ Museum, 'Art and Empire'
2006 1 Jul-7 Oct, Shanghai Museum, 'Art and Empire'
Art and Empire, catalogue no. 250.
2004-2005 15 Oct-16 Jan, London, Leighton House Museum and Linley Sambourne House, 'The Price of Beauty: Edward Long's 'Babylonian Marriage Market'
Exhibition: 'Layard and his Successors. Assyrian Explorations and Discovery in the XIXth century', Assyrian Basement 1 Jul-31 Aug 1963.
Acquired during Layard's expeditions to Mesopotamia between 1845 and 1851. Lady Layard claimed it was found by her husband at Nineveh, however Barnett suggests that the seal may have been found in at the Palace of Esarhadden in Nimrud. See the Journals of Lady Layard (British Library, AddMSS 46153-4) vol. I folio 2v and Vol II folio 113v (23 iii 1869 and 23 vii 1973) on their presentation to Lady Layard and their being shown to Queen Victoria at Osborne. Bequest reported in BM Return 1913, pp.81-82.
- 115656 (Lady Layard's jewellery also recorded on this file card.)
- necklace (115656)
- cylinder seal; bracelet (1913,0208.1; 105111; 115656)
- ear-ring; cylinder seal (1913,0208.2; 105112; 115656)
- cylinder seal (1913,0208.4; 105114; 115656)
- cylinder seal (1913,0208.5; 105115; 115656)
- cylinder seal (1913,0208.6; 105116; 115656)
- cylinder seal (1913,0208.7; 105117; 115656)
- cylinder seal (1913,0208.8; 105118; 115656)
- cylinder seal (1913,0208.9; 105119; 115656)
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Object reference number: WCO24099
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