- Museum number
Orange-brown jasper cylinder seal: engraved with king in royal heraldic combat scene with two confronting monsters, ancillary symbols and inscription; the personage stands facing right with torso presented frontally; he has a pointed beard with horizontal striations and his hair is worn in a page boy style; he wears a high dentate crown and is dressed in the Persian robe with a narrow pleated central panel and three full folds marked down the back section; he raises his arms and grasps the forelocks or horns of two rampant, snarling lions. Each animal has one foreleg against one of the figure's arms and the other against his side, with the claws shown by short double strokes; the heads are marked by small drill-holes, the manes are cross-hatched, the bodies are carefully outlined, with the shoulder and haunch muscles modelled and the latter indicated by 'egg and spoon' decoration, and the tufted tails curl up and round. To the side stands a 'sacred' tree consisting of a globular centre surrounded by rays which terminate in knob-like projections, set on a trunk or pole, the upper portion tied with bands that stretch out like branches with fruit or flower bunches hanging on the tips; a crescent hovers above. A one-line inscription runs from top to bottom of the seal to the right of the tree; some chipping on the upper and lower edges and across the end of the lower perforation.
- Production date
- 6thC BC-4thC BC
Height: 2.70 centimetres
Width: 1.35 centimetres
- Curator's comments
- According to Merrillees catalogue "in the same journal" as used by Reichardt "W.H Rylands comments n the inscription and considers that the tree symbol described as an 'idol' by Reichardt, should be considered as a type of sacred tree with hanging fruit".
- Bibliographic references
Cook, S A 1898a / A Glossary of Aramaic Inscriptions (p.30)
Merrillees 2005 / Catalogue of the Western Asiatic seals in the British Museum: Pre-Achaemenid and Achaemenid periods (50)
Menant J 1886 / Recherches sur la glyptique orientale II (p.220-1, fig.213)
CIS II/I / Inscriptiones Aramaicas continens (no.92, p.91, pl.VI)
Ohnefalsch-Richter M 1893 / Kypros, die Babel und Homer (pls.LXIX:105, LXXVII:10, XCIX:6)
Galling K 1941 / Beschriftete Bildsiegel des ersten Jahrhundreds v.Chr.vornehmilch aus Syrien und Palestina (162)
Schmidt EF 1957a / Persepolis II: Contents of the Treasury and Other Discoveries (cf: pl.5:10, 12) (cf: lions)
Ward W H 1910 / The Seal Cylinders of Western Asia (1108, 1126) (cf: lions)
Curtis & Tallis 2005 / Forgotten Empire: The world of Ancient Persia (cat. 70, p. 93)
- Not on display
- Exhibition history
2006 7 Mar-11 Jun, Barcelona, Fundacion La Caixa, 'L'imperi Oblidat'
- Fair; some chipping on upper and lower edges and across the end of the lower perforation.
- Acquisition date
- Acquisition notes
- In c. 1877 this seal was in the collection of the Rev. Dr Reichhardt as a cast of it exists in the BM. Reichhardt wrote in a communication to the Society of Biblical Archaeology on 6 November 1883 "It was acquired by me, about the middle of January of the present year, from a native silversmith of Damascus, who told me that he obtained it from a peasant who came from one of the villages situated in northern parts of the Lebanon". Acquisition among other items purchased from the estate of the late Captain E.G. Spencer-Churchill noted in the 'British Museum Quarterly' 32 (1967/68), p.57.
- Middle East
- BM/Big number
- Registration number
- Additional IDs
Miscellaneous number: 15 (Spencer Churchill Collection no.?)