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


Description Conservation Provenance Inscription Credit
Description The scene depicts a nude, standing male figure with arms crossed in front of him. The figure has no discernable feet, and the lower part of the left forearm missing. In front of the nude, bound (?) figure stands a second figure in a long robe, facing a deity with horned headdress, and one foot resting in space on what might have been the intended place for a stool. There is nothing in the field. Incorporated into the scene is a cuneiform inscription of three registers. 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
5/26/1978Treatmentother
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.
Inscriptions [Transliteration, Sumerian] 1. {d}suen-na tab-ba-ni? 2. dumu {d}utu-is,-ba-e 3. ARAD2 {d}szul-pa-e3 [https://cdli.ucla.edu/search/archival_view.php?ObjectID=P272853]
Credit Museum purchase [formerly part of the Walters Collection], 1941

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Creator
Period
ca. 2334-1950 BCE (Gutian or Ur III)
Medium
hematite
(Precious Stones & Gems)
Accession Number
42.586
Measurements
H: 7/8 x Diam: 9/16 in. (2.3 x 1.4 cm)
Geographies
Location Within Museum
Not On View

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