- Museum number
Grey-blue chalcedony cylinder seal: showing a bird, ritual object and winged animal. A falcon stands facing right, with carefully engraved hooked beak, round eye and ruff, folded wings with the different overlap of feathers indicated by four rows of dots along the upper part and then four graduating panels, each marked by fine parallel lines; the tail is similarly marked; the softer fluffy feathers over the oblong-shaped lower abdomen and upper legs are shown by fine curved oblique lines and the talons are depicted with fine drill-holes. The incense burner consists of a columnar stand with a widened or circular base, marked by transverse striations, on its fluted, capped top is fitted a bowl with a two-tiered lid attached by a chain to the top of the column; the lid and chain are marked with drill-holes. On the other side of the incense burner, a winged goat or ibex leaps forward, also to right, with forelegs straight out and hind legs on the ground close to the burner; it has a short pointed beard, side tufts and a ridged mane along the crest of the neck and its long notched horn curves up and back, with the central portion divided into two sections, the inner one decorated by a row of dots (comparable to peas in a pod), and from the narrow, lower ridge, the double rows of feathers are singled out by very fine lines splayed round at the tips; the modelling is strong with finely depicted haunch, joints, leg muscles and sinews while the rib area is marked out by an emphasized curved projection emerging from beneath the wing, to which are attached five slightly curving oblique lines; the short, stubby tail lies close to the haunch. The upper and lower edges of the seal are decorated by a row of the sacred eye symbol of the god Horus; fine workmanship; some minor chipping along the edge.
- Production date
Diameter: 2 centimetres
Height: 2.60 centimetres
- Curator's comments
Incense-burner closely resembles iconic Achaemenid type represented on Persepolis sculptures and surviving as actual examples in silver from "Ikhiztepe" in Lydia.
It is tempting to see these the falcon and winged ibex as a cryptographic writing of a personal name - perhaps that of Udjahorresne, an Egyptian official during the reigns Cambyses II (530-522 BC) and Darius I (522-486 BC).
- On display (G52/dc3)
- Exhibition history
2006 7 Mar-11 Jun, Barcelona, Fundacion La Caixa, 'L'imperi Oblidat'
2005-2006 Sept-Jan, London, BM, 'Forgotten Empire'
G52/IRAN/6, official opening 17/11/95-Aug 2005.
Room of Writing (in 1960).
- Good / fair; minor chipping along the edge.
- Acquisition date
- Acquisition notes
- The acquisition of this collection was highlighted in the 'Annual Report of the General Progress of the Museums for the year 1936' (BM BM (Natural History) 1937, pp. 10-11) as "A large collection of pottery, terracotta figurines, bronzes, seals and amulets, mainly from Persia, varying in date from before 3000 B.C., and for the most part from known sites; specially selected to illustrate periods not hitherto represented, or inadequately represented, in the collection".
- Middle East
- BM/Big number
- Registration number