Cylinder seal

Unknown"1450-1200 BC" - ""

Museum of Cycladic Art

Museum of Cycladic Art

Represented on this cylinder seal of black chlorite from Cyprus is a hunting scene, with two archers in oriental dress moving amidst animals and birds, while floral motifs fill the field. Hunting scenes were usually religious in character and referred to the capture of animals to be sacrificed to the gods. This particular cylinder is in the so-called Egyptianizing style. Sealstones were invaluable instruments of bureaucratic administration and were used to stamp personal goods or items of property, as well as for ratifying commercial transactions. They were also worn as jewellery, enhancing their owners' status, or as amulets with protective and apotropaic qualities. Seals were used in the Near East and Egypt already from the third millennium BC, and in the Aegean from at least the early second millennium BC. On Cyprus, however, seal-carving only developed during the Late Cypriot period (1600-1100 BC), while from the late fifteenth century BC there was a marked increase in imports of cylinder seals from neighbouring lands and the Aegean (Crete), as well as a considerable local production. One of the basic types of Cypriot sealstones is the cylinder seal, which was made of various materials, such as steatite, serpentine, haematite and chlorite. The repertoire of engraved devices attests influences from Near Eastern as well as Aegean art, which are combined most skilfully with local motifs.

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  • Title: Cylinder seal
  • Creator: Unknown
  • Date Created: "1450-1200 BC" - ""
  • Provenance: Unknown
  • Physical Dimensions: w11 x h30 mm
  • Period: Late Bronze Age
  • Culture: Cypriot
  • Type: cylinder seal
  • Rights: N.P. Goulandris Foundation - Museum of Cycladic Art, Th.N. Zintilis Collection, no. 430, http://www.cycladic.gr/frontoffice/portal.asp?cpage=NODE&cnode=25&clang=1
  • External Link: Museum of Cycladic Art, Athens, Greece
  • Medium: chlorite