- Museum number
Brown and white quartz var chalcedony cylinder seal, contest scene; two antithetical groups, each consisting of a bearded hero (full face - one of which is possibly Gilgamesh) who is naked except for a belt and who is kneeling on one knee and wrestling with a lion; one arm is round the lion's neck, thus bending it right back, while the other is reaching round the lion's body to grasp its tail. Terminals, a frame which must have contained two lines of inscription, now erased. The lines framing the inscription have been changed into three fronds. At the bottom are two shapes which were probably added to convert the design into a sheaf of corn. Terminal also contains an inscription; edges of seal bevelled; seal is slightly chipped.
- Production date
Diameter: 2.30 centimetres
Height: 3.60 centimetres
- Curator's comments
- According to the catalogue this seal has probably been published more than any other seal. A great many of the early drawings of it are inaccurate, however, particularly as regards the hero's arm that clasps the lion around the neck.
- Bibliographic references
Guide 1922 / Guide to the Babylonian and Assyrian Antiquities in the British Museum (pp.232, 234)
Collon 1982a / Catalogue of the Western Asiatic Seals in the British Museum: Cylinder Seals II: Akkadian, Post Akkadian, Ur III Periods (114)
Aruz & Wallenfels 2003a / Art of the First Cities: The Third Millennium B.C. from the Mediterranean to the Indus (no. 147, p. 218.)
King 1910a / A history of Sumer and Akkad (fig 1, opposite p.74)
Frankfort H 1954a / The art and architecture of the Ancient Orient (pl.45 A) (detail)
Perrot G & Chipiez C 1884a / Histoire de l'art dans l'antiquite, II Chaldee et Assyria (p.502, fig. 225) (detail)
Strommenger E & Hirmer M 1962a / Funf Jahrtausende Mesopotamien (pl.113, p.72)
Ball 1899a / Light from the East, or the witness of the monuments (p.44, no. 1)
Boehmer R M 1966a / Die Datierung des Puzur/Kutik-Inshushinak und einige sich daraus ergebende Konsequenzen (pp.363, 364, n.1, Abb.4)
Frayne, RIME 2 / Sargonic and Gutian Periods (RIM.E.126.96.36.1992)
Boehmer R M 1965a / Die Entwicklung der Glyptik wahrend der Akkad-Zeit
- Not on display
- Exhibition history
2022-2023 15 Oct - 19 Feb, New York, The Morgan Library and Museum, She Who Wrote: Enheduanna and Women of Mesopotamia
2012 Jan-Apr, Hong Kong Museum of Art, Fantastic Creatures
2011 Jun-Sept, South Korea, Ulsan Museum, Fantastic Creatures
2003 5 May-17 Aug, New York, Metropolitan Museum of Art, 'Art of the First Cities'
1997 29 May-28 Oct, Germany, Berlin, Vorderasiatisches Museum, Das Siegel Im Alten Vorderasien
- Good / fair; edges of the seal are slightly chipped.
- Acquisition date
- Middle East
- BM/Big number
- Registration number
- Additional IDs
Other BM number: R.140 (old registration number)