- Museum number
- Series: Lady Layard's Necklace
Cornelian cylinder seal; red brown with black inclusions; antithetical scene consisting, in the centre, of a winged disc above a tree, flanked by two deities standing on their attribute animals facing each other, with a fish-cloaked figure (possibly a priest?) facing right behind them. There is a curled appendage above the winged disc, and four double streamers ending in palmettes hang below it. The tree is highly stylised; it has a columnar, fluted trunk with groups of three horizontal lines at the bottom, middle and top, a palmette and long radiating branches with buds at the top, and lateral branches, alternately long and short, ending in buds; festooned under and over these buds and under the tree is an undulating line punctuated by palmettes. To the left of the tree is a bearded god in a tall, feather-topped head-dress with a band or plait of hair hanging behind, wearing a belted, elbow-length, fringed robe; the skirt is decorated with double horizontal lines and overlapping, dot-filled double circles shown in profile, with pleats at the back; he has a bracelet on each wrist, holds a curved weapon in his lowered right hand and, in his raised left hand, a mace and the lead of a pacing bull. To the right of the tree is a goddess, with a long curl of hair down her back ending in a centre-dot circle, wearing a feather-topped, horned head-dress, and a long robe and open coat, both of which are fringed and decorated with bands of dot-filled rectangles; she has a quiver, topped by a star in a circle, on her back, a sword in a scabbard decorated with volutes at her waist and three bracelets on each wrist; she raises her right hand and holds a mace and the lead of the pacing lion-griffin on which she stands, with one foot on its head and the other on its back. The griffin has long ears, a feathered mane, wings, a bird's tail and talons on all four legs. The fish-cloaked figure is otherwise naked, bearded, and holds an elongated cone in his raised right hand and a bucket in his lowered left; the fish's head forms his head-dress which has three sets of horns; its skin is cross-hatched and its tail is level with his thighs; his feet are level with the hindquarters of the two beasts and above him are a crescent and star. Line borders top and bottom. Set in a Victorian gold bracelet which is chevron shaped. Top slightly chipped.
Diameter: 1.60 centimetres (of this individual seal)
Height: 3.60 centimetres (of this individual seal)
- Curator's comments
According to Collon catalogue "Lady Layard claimed that this was the seal of Esarhaddon.....The winged disc and tree with streamers are characteristic of Assyrian seals but the god's dress is patterned like that of Babylonian gods on the seals of deities".
Part of a set of jewellery (no.1) comprising necklace, ear-rings and bracelet (according to record card - this object is part of the bracelet) given by Sir Austen Henry Layard to his bride, Enid; comprises of cylinder seals made up into a necklace, bracelet and two ear-rings in Victorian gold settings; made by Messrs Phillips of Cockspur Street; displayed in original shaped leather box lined with violet velvet; the set of jewellery is also recorded on file card big.no 115656. There is a discussion of the date of this seal with many cross-references in the catalogue entry but the design, bibliographic and object reference are too extensive to place into this record. Additional reference on record card "Kimbell Art Museum Calender" , September 1995-January 1996, p.8.
Lady Layard's necklace, made up from Assyrian and Babylonian cylinder and stamp seals, 105111-105128, set in gold mounts. Also two ear-rings and a bracelet.
The bracelet terminates at each end in lions' heads with barrel shaped links in their mouths. The bracelet is hollow cast with invisible hinges at each side. Inside the hoop is the applied gold trade label used by Phillips Brothers of London.
The necklace is made up of eleven cylinder seals and four stamp seals. The cylinder seals are drilled through the centre and capped with gold; the seperating links are in the form of hollow stamped double lotus buds. The three pendant stamp seals are surmonted by lions ' heads with graduated beading on the seals caps.
The ear-rings are each formed of chalcedony seals with a lion's head above and an ornament resembling a pine cone below.
The seal caps on both necklace and ear-rings are bordered with a chevron motif in applied wire, while at each end is a design of wirework ovals.
- On display (G55/dc15)
- Exhibition history
2013 - 2014 22 June - 6 Jan, Toronto, Royal Ontario Museum, 'Mesopotamia, Inventing Our World'
2013: 30 Jan-13 May, Museum of History, Hong Kong, 'The Wonders of Ancient Mesopotamia'
2012: 4 May-7 Oct, Melbourne Museum, 'The Wonders of Ancient Mesopotamia'
2008-2009 21 Sept-4 Jan, Boston, MFA, 'Art and Empire'
2007 2 Apr-30 Sept, Alicante, MARQ Museum, 'Art and Empire'
2006 1 Jul-7 Oct, Shanghai Museum, 'Art and Empire'
Art and Empire, catalogue no. 250.
2004-2005 15 Oct-16 Jan, London, Leighton House Museum and Linley Sambourne House, 'The Price of Beauty: Edward Long's 'Babylonian Marriage Market'
Exhibition: 'Layard and his Successors. Assyrian Explorations and Discovery in the XIXth century', Assyrian Basement 1 Jul-31 Aug 1963.
- Good / fair; top slightly chipped.
- Acquisition date
- Acquisition notes
- Acquired during Layard's expeditions to Mesopotamia between 1845 and 1851. Lady Layard claimed it was found by her husband at Nineveh, however Barnett suggests that the seal may have been found in at the Palace of Esarhadden in Nimrud. See the Journals of Lady Layard (British Library, AddMSS 46153-4) vol. I folio 2v and Vol II folio 113v (23 iii 1869 and 23 vii 1973) on their presentation to Lady Layard and their being shown to Queen Victoria at Osborne. Bequest reported in BM Return 1913, pp.81-82.
- Middle East
- BM/Big number
- Registration number
- Additional IDs
Miscellaneous number: 115656 (Lady Layard's jewellery is recorded on this file card)
- Joined objects
Associated Group: G10325 (10 objects)