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Cylinder Seal with a Chariot Combat Scene
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Cylinder Seal with a Chariot Combat Scene


Description Conservation Provenance Credit
Description During the Middle Assyrian period, the art of the cylinder seal increased in naturalism, movement, and sculptural quality. This seal exemplifies these trends through its dynamic depiction of a chariot combat scene. Two riders pull their bows back about to strike a rearing fantastical lion creature. The chariot also tramples a fallen creature below. 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
Provenance Henry Walters, Baltimore, [date and mode of acquisition unknown]; Sadie Jones (Mrs. Henry Walters), New York, 1931, by inheritance; Joseph Brummer, Paris and New York, 1941, by purchase; Walters Art Museum, 1941, by purchase.
Credit Museum purchase [formerly part of the Walters Collection], 1941

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Creator
Period
13th-12th century BCE (Middle Assyrian)
Medium
banded white stone
(Precious Stones & Gems)
Accession Number
42.741
Measurements
Diam: 7/16 in. (1.1 cm)
Geographies
Location Within Museum
Not On View

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