A Zoroastrian Chalcedony Stamp Seal, Sasanian Period, ca. 5th century CE
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This dome-shaped chalcedony stamp seal is perforated for suspension and engraved with an incised drawing of Gayomard, the primeval man of the Zoroastrian religion - the first man or mortal ancestor. He is portrayed here with widely outspread arms and legs, holding a symbolic staff in each hand and his faithful dog, Yellow Ears, below.
Gayomard (“Mortal Life”), in later Zoroastrian creation literature, was the first man, and the progenitor of mankind. Gayomard's spirit, with that of the primeval ox, lived for 3,000 years during the period in which creation was only spiritual. His mere existence immobilized Ahriman, the evil spirit who wanted to invade creation. Then Ahura Mazdā created Gayomard incarnate—white and brilliant, shining like the sun—and put in him and the primeval ox, alone of all created things, a seed whose origin was in fire.
Ahura Mazdā gave Gayomard the boon of sleep for respite from the onslaught of Ahriman. But after 30 years of attacks, Ahriman destroyed Gayomard. His body became the Earth’s metals and minerals. Gold was his seed, and from it sprung the human race.
Parallels: British museum: https://www.britishmuseum.org/collection/object/W_1943-1009-34
Dimensions: Length: 1 inch (2.5 cm), Width: 1 1/8 inches (2.6 cm)
Condition: Some chips to the surface and one deep loss at the back, but overall intact and in very good condition. A large and lovely example.
Provenance: Stewart Giles (1951-1993) private collection, acquired in London between 1978 and 1982, then by family descent.
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