Carnelian stamp seal


British Museum

British Museum

This pyramidal stamp seal was discovered at Babylon in the nineteenth century. On the base is a bearded hero holding a sword and an ostrich by the neck. Although they were native to the region, ostriches are a rare sight in Mesopotamian art. On one face of the seal is a seated dog, symbol of Gula, goddess of healing. The cuneiform inscription runs up one side of the seal and over the top. It translates: 'I trust in the Lady of Life; let me then live.' Seals were used to make a mark of authority or act as a signature but, as here, could also have amuletic properties.

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  • Title: Carnelian stamp seal
  • Date Created: -700/-550
  • Physical Dimensions: Height: 25.00mm; Diameter: 12.00mm; Circumference: 19.00mm
  • External Link: British Museum collection online
  • Subject: dog; bird; arms/armour
  • Registration number: 1849,0623.17
  • Place: Excavated/Findspot Babylon
  • Period/culture: Late Babylonian
  • Material: cornelian
  • Copyright: Photo: © Trustees of the British Museum
  • Acquisition: Purchased from Cureton, Harry Osborn. Previous owner/ex-collection Steuart, John Robert
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