- Museum number
Pale white-grey quartz, chalcedony cylinder seal with brown inclusions. A bearded male figure wears a circlet over shoulder-length hair, and an open mantle with ladder-patterned borders that leaves the forward leg free, beneath which appear the edge of a kilt marked by four horizontal lines, and four strings of a tasselled belt; he holds the edge of his garment in his left hand and a mace head-downwards in his right hand, and he faces a suppliant goddess. Between them are a fish-man in the upper field and, in the lower field, a hero kneeling on one knee on a base-line, naked apart from a double belt; both face the goddess, are bearded, wear a circlet over hair that hangs down at the back, and each holds a globular vessel in both hands; the vessels are linked by double and triple undulating streams of water that cross over, with one fish swimming up and one down the stream on the right. There are six lines of framed cuneiform inscription, with the frame on the right cut twice, and the line at the bottom extends below the figures, but is incomplete at the end of the first line.
- Production date
Diameter: 1.56 centimetres
Height: 3.57 centimetres
- Curator's comments
- Matthews (pp. 86 and 136) classifies this seal as belonging to the Central Tradition of the First Kassite style. He notes (p. 71) “that the Open dress [worn by the male figure] is to some extent the Kassite equivalent [of the costume worn by the Old Babylonian “king with a mace”], as both combine with the same arm attitude and [they] are both often found with ‘interceding’ figures [see also his p. 72 and his no. 1]. The meaning may have some ‘heroic’ connotation – especially as this is the only place where tassels, as in the Assyrian ‘hero’, appear” and he refers also to his nos 1, and 78 (BM 89001). He also points out (p. 71 n. 190) that the arms of the fish-man and kneeling hero are in a posture that is otherwise the prerogative of the “nude female” (see also (BM 89175) and 126), and comments (p. 81 n. 286) on the line beneath the kneeling figure. See the Introduction to this chapter, Section I.3.
Inscription notes: The use of bára for åarru (no doubt by metonymy) has much lexical support, see CAD åarru. The reading and meaning of ùn.(na) “high” is known from Sumerian literary texts (TCS 3 57 note on 30), and the tradition of the list Ea gives two relevant readings of BÀD: [(ó).u]g? and «u4».[u]n (MSL XIV 60 765-766). Ea VIII dealt with the matter, but the section is lost; Aa preserves the meanings but not the pronunciation glosses: EZENxBAD = åa-qu-[u], e-lu-u, åá-mu-[u], EZENxBAD = mu-tum (op. cit. 498-499 44-47). The two glosses should of course be ó-un and ó-ug, since ùn is certainly “high” (as in the seal under discussion), though “death” etc. can be either ùn or ug5 in learned Babylonian texts. For the former see IVR2 30 no. 2 24-25 and An = Anum V 312 283 (ed. R.L. Litke, Yale) with variants and TCL 15 31 416-417. 3. Cf. Limet 6.3: ñé-li ñé-NUN is unhelpful. But it can be read zil as a “phonetic” writing for zíl = dmq, and for the appropriateness of this note the variant in a physiognomic text: ina-mir: idammiq(sig5)iq (CT 28 28 16). 5. Cf. Antagal G 63: me zé.tuku.zu = ardu pa[liñ-ka] (MSL XVII 223 63). It is tempting to take out me.me as ardu pâliñ, but while me is certainly ardu, (BM 129531): me.me ní.tuku.bi excludes that. So me.me = me in these passages.
- Not on display
- Chipping of the edges and the lower end; some faults in the stone contain brown inclusions, and the most prominent runs across the male figure’s robe
- Acquisition date
- Acquisition notes
- Axelblad Collection (1763-1819); acquired by Blacas Collection BL 725 (NB not B.L 725); transferred from BM Greek and Roman Dept. 1888.
- Middle East
- BM/Big number
- Registration number
- Additional IDs
Miscellaneous number: 1888,0128.1 (registration number in Egyptian acquisition register)
Miscellaneous number: BL.725 (alternative registration number)