A fine Old Babylonian Hematite Cylinder Seal, ca. 2000 - 1600 BCE
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finely carved from hematite in bold and detailed relief, this rare seal portrays on one side a group of three standing figures. Standing in the center is the divine sun-god Sharmash, the bearded god wearing a horned tiara and long pleated robe, he is holding a vase with water streaming on either side to the ground line. To his right, he faces a bearded god wearing a horned tiara and long robe, his right hand raised as a form of respect, while to the left stands a birdman, human above the waist and birds body and legs below.
One of the most distinctive designations of the sun-god Shamash was that of Daianu or Judge of gods and men. Sometimes, in the earlier cylinders is the figure of the bird-man led forcibly before the god. Usually, the god is seated for judgment of the birdman, but this example is one of the rare cases in which he is standing with streams coming from a vase in his hands.
For related example see: Morgan, J. Pierpont (John Pierpont)., Ward, W. Hayes. (1909). Cylinders and other ancient oriental seals in the library of J. Pierpont Morgan. New York: Priv. print. p. 49 #78
Condition: Unfinished to one side, the center with bronze or copper thread still remaining.
Dimensions: Height: 1 inch (2.5 cm)
Provenance: Private Somerset, England collection, acquired in London prior to 1980, private Connecticut collection thereafter private Virginia collection.
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