- Museum number
Black hematite cylinder seals. The design has been arranged in two registers without a divider; the lower register is aligned on the base-line, but the alignment with the upper frame of the top of the figures in the upper register has led to an undulating row below which motifs were added to fill the gaps. Above: Two winged sphinxes sit on their haunches facing each other; both wear Egyptian wigs, but the front of the sphinx on the right was largely erased (see above), so the wing was recut and groups of diagonal body markings were added; the head between them faces left and has spiky hair, as do all the other human heads. To the right is a monster consisting of the front of a lion attached to a curled and serrated tail, a recumbent goat, a human head and a leaping hare, all facing left. Below: Two bird-headed, crested and recumbent winged lions (bird-griffins) face each other below the sphinxes, with a human head between them. To the right are two vertical human hands with thumb to right, one above the other; a long-horned quadruped seated on its haunches towards the left and looking back over its shoulder at a recumbent goat similar to the one above it in the upper register but slightly smaller, two human heads one above the other, and two recumbent hares one above the other facing left, with the lower one larger than the hares above it. The scene is framed by line borders top and bottom and by horizontal two-strand, centre-dot Z-guilloches, both interrupted in places by erasure and polishing of a chipped area; there was probably a further line border, now erased (see above).
Animals, composite creatures and human heads are combined in a design. Two confronted sphinxes have a human head between them. Below are two griffins in the same composition. Two human hands, one above the other separate the first two motifs from the rest. Above the hands is a composite creature with lion's forepart and scorpion’s turned up tail. A gazelle and two goats form a space limited by three human heads one above another. Behind them are three hares one above another; the design is partially framed above and below by a two-strand guilloche.
- Production date
Diameter: 11.90 millimetres
Height: 19.50 millimetres
- Curator's comments
- This seal’s closest parallel is the typically Classic Syrian octagonal seal CLS 62 (BM 130669) which is later than Otto’s chronological limits. For earlier versions of the design, see Otto 2000, pls 4-5, especially nos 40, 41 and 65, for similar combinations of hands, heads and animals, mostly unprovenanced and arranged in columns, but cruder, and none associated with guilloches.
- Not on display
- Both ends are slightly convex, probably due to repolishing of the ends to remove chips, and possibly resulting in the removal of a line border that may have framed the guilloche. One side was partly flattened and erased when a section of the upper edge was filed down and polished to mask a chip, of which traces are still visible. Other smaller chips were removed at both ends, leading to partial erasure of the guilloche.
- Acquisition date
- Acquisition notes
- Ex Southesk Collection, obtained from Cutler in 1883
- Middle East
- BM/Big number
- Registration number
- Additional IDs
Miscellaneous number: QS17: 31 (Southesk Collection Number)