Cylinder Seal with Griffin, Bull and Lion and Inscription
Middle Assyrian period (c. 1300–1100 B.C.)c. 1300–1200 B.C.Stone
H. 1 7/16 in. (3.6 cm);
Diam. 11/16 in. (1.7 cm)
This seal shows a winged griffin dispatching a bull, before a rampant, snarling lion. Epitomizing Mesopotamia miniature art at its best, the artist has taken great care in defining the musculature, fur, and wings of the creatures, which represent divine forces in Mesopotamian religion. The hard chalcedony of the seal allows the representation of very fine detail at a miniature scale. Since it is uninscribed, this was probably a personal seal, whose iconography was chosen to ward off malevolent forces.
Private collection, Syria. Private collection, Lebanon, acquired between 1962 and 1968; (art dealer, New Jersey) by 1981; (Ward & Company Fine Art, Inc., New York), by 2001; purchased by Kimbell Art Foundation, Fort Worth, 2001.