- Museum number
Mottled pale browns and white-grey quartz, chalcedony cylinder seal. A bearded god, with his hair rolled in a small sphere at the neck, wearing a diadem and a plain robe with ladder pattern around the upper part, holds the robe’s vertical edge in his clench left fist and raises his open right hand. Before him is a spade symbol on an altar or stepped support, above which is a ball-staff placed horizontally (note that the “ball” is square). A row of three “Kassite crosses” in boxes forms an upper border. There is a six-line cuneiform inscription. Line borders top and bottom.
Length: 3.91 centimetres
Width: 1.73 centimetres
- Curator's comments
- Matthews (p. 136) attributes this seal to the Central Tradition of the First Kassite group; he has pointed out (p. 17, n. 130) that this seal, though Babylonian in inspiration, does not follow that convention of a line border over the inscription panel only, but has continuous line borders; furthermore it is one of only three examples in his survey (p. 74 n. 212) in which the ball-staff appears, but unlike the other two, it is not associated here with a vessel (as on Old Babylonian seals; see Collon 1986, pp. 49-51, D.5); however he notes its unusual appearance and suggests some other object may be intended. The marru (spade symbol of Marduk) only occurs otherwise on Third Kassite seals, but Matthews suggests (pp. 81 n. 287 and 110 n. 239) that it may here be an altar.
Buchanan (1957, p. 46) cites this seal in connection with the seal impressions on Tablet CUA57 (on his pl. 1, figs 7-9) which shows a seated figure “that anticipates Kassite usage”, and that also displays the impression of its metal caps decorated with granulation, thus presupposing that the caps were of gold.
This seal in cited by Ravn (1939-40) as a parallel for a seal excavated at Hama in Syria that is also dedicated to Nin-Eanna, and see also Langdon 1919.
- Bibliographic references
Cullimore A 1842 / Oriental Cylinders, Impressions of ancient oriental cylinders, or rolling seals of the Babylonians, Assyrians, and Medo-Persians (pl 5, no 22)
Ward W H 1910 / The Seal Cylinders of Western Asia (fig.535)
Beran T 1957 / Assyrische Glyptik des 14. Jahrhunderts (p.260)
Frankfort H 1939 / Cylinder Seals: a documentary essay on the art and religion of the ancient Near East (p.XXXIII, pl.XXX.K, pl30k)
Lajard F 1847 / Introduction a l'etude du culte public et des mysteres de Mithra en Orient et en Occident (36,12)
Menant J 1883 / Recherches sur la glyptique orientale I (vol. I, p. 187;)
van Buren E D 1954 / The esoteric significance of Kassite glyptic art (pl. I:1, p. 6 n. 1)
Matthews, D M 1990 / Principals of Composition in Near Eastern Glyptic of the Later 2nd Millenium BC (no. 35)
- Not on display
- edges chipped, possibly due to the forcible removal of decorative metal (gold?) caps.
- Acquisition date
- Middle East
- BM/Big number
- Registration number
- Additional IDs
Miscellaneous number: R.152