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Disc Seal with a Bird
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Disc Seal with a Bird

Description Conservation Provenance Credit
Description One face of the seal is decorated with a bird, perhaps a rooster, its beak open and wing raised, striding to the right. In the field above and below the bird are snakes with which it seems to be fighting. The upper snake is rather confusingly represented as emanating from the cock's comb. The other face is undecorated. There are no borders on either face, and the edge of the seal is plain. Disc seals, normally pierced transversely so that they could be srung singly or in groups, were found in quantity in the sanctuaries of Artemis Orthia at Sparta, Hera Limenia at Perachora, and the Argive Heraeum at Argos, all in the Peloponnese where there must have been a center of production for such seals. Although the objects may well have been used first as seals, their survival is due to their dedication in sanctuaries as votive gifts. Birds with snakes are a favorite motif, but there are no close parallels to this composition among the excavated examples. Most disc seals are decorated on both faces, unlike the Walters example. The plain face, and the lack of a hole for suspension, suggest either that this seal was never finished, or that it is not ancient.
Date Description Narrative
8/12/1982Treatmentcleaned; examined for exhibition
Provenance Sir Arthur Evans [date and mode of acquisition unknown]; Philip B. Perlman [date and mode of acquisition unknown]; Walters Art Museum, 1942, by gift.
Credit Gift of Philip B. Perlman, 1942

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7th century BCE (?) (Orientalizing?)
(Ivory & Bone)
Accession Number
1 7/8 x 5/16 in. (4.75 x 0.8 cm) (diam. x d.)
Location Within Museum
Not On View


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