King Standing on Sphinxes and Holding a Lion in Each Hand; Palm Tree with Winged Sun Disk Above
Cylinder seal and impression
Persia, Achaemenid periodca.550–330 B.C.Agate32 x 15 mmSeal no. 824
Even though cylinder seals had been carved in Mesopotamia for over three thousand years, the form was by no means exhausted by the time of the Persian conquest. Some of the most exquisite cylinders were produced in the Achaemenid workshops. On this seal it is no longer the nude bearded hero of the Akkadians who dominates the animals, but the Achaemenid king himself in a beautifully balanced yet artificial composition in which all elements are subservient to and a reflection of the king's majesty.