- Museum number
Blue chalcedony cylinder seal; a clean-shaven priest stands facing left, holding a small bucket in his right hand and raising a small drinking cup in his open left hand and facing an offering table and two altars supporting symbols. The priest wears crossed straps, and double lines near his elbow may be bracelets or the edge of his sleeve. The offering table has a thick flat top, supported on two thin columns with tie-bars near the top and at the bottom; these rise from a massive base supported by bull's feet, two of which are shown. The first altar supports a clothed? crescent (symbol of Sin?) at the top of a tall truncated cone divided into five bands, which are decorated with vertical striations. The second altar supports a bird with a raised, tufted tail, which stands facing left with its beak slightly open. The altars have single rectangles at the base and top, decorated with two to three rows of horizontal undulating lines; the front is divided into five vertical panels, each containing a vertical line. An inscription of at least four lines, and perhaps even five, has been erased almost completely and the finish of this area is different from that of the rest of the seal's surface. Edges are very badly chipped and this probably occurred when gold caps were removed from the seal; chip behind priest. Narrow perforation.
- Production date
Diameter: 0.40 centimetres (of perforation)
Diameter: 2 centimetres (of seal)
Diameter: 0.80 inches
Height: 3.85 centimetres
Height: 1.50 inches
- Curator's comments
- According to catalogue "the bird resembles a partridge apart from the raised tail. This latter feature probably indicates that it is a hen ('gallus gallus'). Domestic poultry is descended from the Indian red junglefowl and probably reached the Middle East in the thirteenth century BC. The red junglefowl has only a minimal comb and no wattles. Cocks are also found on altars, presumably as a symbol of the sun god."
- Not on display
- Exhibition history
2011 28 March-26 June, Abu Dhabi, Manarat Al Saadiyat, 'Splendours of Mesopotamia'
1991 9 Mar-7 May, Japan, Osaka, National Museum of Art, Treasures of the British Museum, cat. no.36
1991 5 Jan-20 Feb, Japan, Yamaguchi, Prefectural Museum of Art, Treasures of the British Museum, cat. no.36
1990 20 Oct-9 Dec, Japan, Tokyo, Setagaya Art Museum, Treasures of the British Museum, cat. no.36
- Edges very badly chipped which probably occured when gold caps were removed from the seal; chip on design.
- Acquisition date
- Acquisition notes
- The seal was already in the British Museum in 1853 when Layard published a drawing of it. Originally registered in B& M register 4/9.
- Middle East
- BM/Big number
- Registration number