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Amethyst panoply seal


British Museum

British Museum

This lentoid (lens-shaped) seal-stone is made of amethyst and shows an armed figure. A large figure-of-eight shield completely covers the figure's body, while the head is protected and concealed by a plumed boar's tusk helmet. This was the high-status helmet of the Mycenaean warrior, made of rows of carved boar's tusk sewn onto leather. Each outstretched arm of the figure holds a sword aloft. Below the arms, the figure is flanked by two objects that are difficult to identify. The armed figure may be a Mycenaean warrior, but is more probably a warrior goddess worshipped by the Mycenaeans. In fact the wearer of the armour is almost hidden: only the spindly arms are visible, giving the impression that the panoply (group of armour) is itself venerated in an animated form. A similar figure is depicted being worshipped on a painted limestone tablet from Mycenae.

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  • Title: Amethyst panoply seal
  • Date Created: -1600/-1400
  • Physical Dimensions: Diameter: 1.70-1.80cm
  • External Link: British Museum collection online
  • Technique: engraved
  • Subject: warrior
  • Registration number: 1935,0430.1
  • Production place: Made in Greece
  • Place: Found/Acquired Greece
  • Period/culture: Late Bronze Age I; Late Bronze Age II
  • Material: amethyst
  • Copyright: Photo: © Trustees of the British Museum
  • Acquisition: Purchased from Orfanides, J
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