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Cylinder Seal with a Presentation Scene and Inscription
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Cylinder Seal with a Presentation Scene and Inscription


Description Conservation Provenance Inscription Credit
Description This carved scene features a seated deity, possibly Nergal, facing a standing worshipper with an interceding goddess standing behind him. The worshipper, identified as a scribe named Inzuzu, has his hands clasped, while the goddess has both hands raised. There is an eight-pointed star with a crescent between the worshipper and seated deity. A cuneiform inscription in three registers is incorporated into the scene. Cylinder seals are cylindrical objects carved in reverse (intaglio) in order to leave raised impressions when rolled into clay. Seals were generally used to mark ownership, and they could act as official identifiers, like a signature, for individuals and institutions. A seal’s owner rolled impressions in wet clay to secure property such as baskets, letters, jars, and even rooms and buildings. This clay sealing prevented tampering because it had to be broken in order to access a safeguarded item. Cylinder seals were often made of durable material, usually stone, and most were drilled lengthwise so they could be strung and worn. A seal’s material and the images inscribed on the seal itself could be protective. The artistry and design might be appreciated and considered decorative as well. Cylinder seals were produced in the Near East beginning in the fourth millennium BCE and date to every period through the end of the first millennium BCE.
Conservation
Date Description Narrative
6/04/1968Treatmentother
5/26/1978Treatmentother
5/26/2010Treatmentcleaned; other
Provenance Thomas Gibson-Carmichael, London, [date and mode of acquisition unknown]; Carmichael sale, Sotheby's, London, June 1926, p. 39, no. 355 (526); Dikran Kelekian, New York and Paris, 1926, by purchase; Henry Walters, Baltimore, 1926, by purchase; Walters Art Museum, 1931, by bequest.
Inscriptions [Transliteration, Sumerian] in-zu-zu / dub-sar dumu a-ag-ga?-na / ARAD2 {d}ne3-eri11-gal [https://cdli.ucla.edu/P272844] [Translation] Inzuzu / the scribe, son of Aggan(a) / servant of Nergal
Credit Acquired by Henry Walters, 1926

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Creator
Period
21st-20th century BCE (Isin-Larsa)
Medium
lapis lazuli
(Precious Stones & Gems)
Accession Number
42.189
Measurements
H: 7/8 x W: 7/16 x Diam: 7/16 in. (2.2 x 1.1 x 1.2 cm)
Geographies
Location Within Museum
Not On View

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