Glass cylinder seal


British Museum

British Museum

This cylinder seal, made of glass, dates to the thirteenth century BC. Although its exact origin is unknown, similar seals were dedicated in the temples at Choga Zanbil, a site about forty kilometres south-east of Susa. This site was founded around 1340 BC by the Elamite king Untash-Napirisha, possibly as a religious centre. Seals dedicated here were made of either glass or faience (glazed quartz composition). This is an Iranian version of contemporary Kassite seals from Babylonia. The style is typically very linear, with much use of the drill. The cuneiform inscription reads in Sumerian: 'O Sin, great lord look [with favour] have mercy'. Sin was the moon god, and the inscription suggests that the seal was a votive object, left in a temple so that the owner would receive the god's blessing.

Show lessRead more


  • Title: Glass cylinder seal
  • Date Created: -1299/-1200
  • Physical Dimensions: Height: 4.50cm; Diameter: 1.30cm; Diameter: 0.40cm (perforation); Weight: 15.50g
  • External Link: British Museum collection online
  • Technique: engraved; perforated
  • Subject: mammal; griffin; deity; arms/armour
  • Registration number: 1967,0626.1
  • Production place: Made in Iran
  • Period/culture: Middle Elamite
  • Material: glass
  • Copyright: Photo: © Trustees of the British Museum
  • Acquisition: Donated by Burchard, O