- Museum number
Black hematite cylinder seal engraved with two scenes divided into two tête-bêche registers by a line of small, overlapping centre-dot circles. Register 1: A robed figure sits on a chair facing left, with one hand raised and with a goat leaping up in front, with its head turned back and one foreleg raised. The goat looks back at a stylised tree flanked by two rampant, winged, ibex-horned monsters that look back over their shoulders. Register 2: A winged, robed figure stands facing right and grasps the hind-leg of an inverted quadruped, possibly a lion, in each hand. A second group consists of a frontal, winged demon whose skirt is drawn up between sharply bent legs and which has two faces back-to-back; it is flanked by winged sphinxes that sit back on their haunches. A drill has been used for the very small dots marking the eyes, the tree, edging the wings, the ibex horns, and the dots down the demon’s chest and the figure’s robe. Line borders top and bottom.
Diameter: 1.20 - 1.40 centimetres
Diameter: 0.59 centimetres (Piercing bottom)
Diameter: 0.52 centimetres (Piercing top)
Height: 2.90 centimetres
- Curator's comments
- See E. Porada, "A remarkable cylinder seal from Amathus", RDAC 1987, p. 80.
This seal is typical of the Cypriote Elaborate Style. A close parallel, possibly from the same workshop, was excavated at Lachish in Israel (*Beck 1983; Collon 1987/2001, no. 326). Matthews (p. 3) remarks that “Cyprus was the only region in the later second millennium to continue the practice of engraving the best styles almost exclusively in haematite, but fine Cypriote is a local product”. He lists (p. 18 n.148) the examples of seals with tête-bêche registers peculiar to this style which “draws attention, by violating it, to a remarkable oriental convention, that the orientation of scenes towards one end of the cylinder is constant, that is to say in nearly all cases it is possible to state whether the seal is ‘the right way up’”, and he discusses this phenomenon at greater length. Note, however, non-Cypriote seals that are also tête-bêche (BM 89513 ***). On pp. 25-6 and n. 289 he refers to the “strongly curved variant” of his horn type 17 found on this and related Cypriote seals
- Not on display
- Exhibition history
1977 London, BM, 'Animals in Art'
- Concave-sided, unusually heavy, with slight chipping of the edges and an area of damage on one register.
- Acquisition date
- Middle East
- BM/Big number
- Registration number