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Pale white-blue chalcedony cylinder seal; Gilgamesh

Pale white-blue chalcedony cylinder seal; Gilgamesh, on the left and his friend Enkidu, on the right, kill the Bull of Heaven while Ishtar tries to prevent them; above (ie. in the background) two birds (probably birds of prey) attack a falling stag. All the figures have shoulder-length hair which is curled at the end and wear robes decorated with bands of the dot-in-double square motif; the men have long beards with several rows of curls. Gilgamesh wears a tall head-dress with curved sides and triple horns, and a long, open short-sleeved coat (?) decorated with dot-in-square borders falling vertically from the shoulders and in curves over the hips and at the ankles; beneath this he wears a kilt with double edges and a border of dots; across his shoulders he has quivers, bows and decorated maces. With his right hand he grasps the Bull by the forelock or by one horn or ear and with his left stabs it at the back of the head; one foot rests against the Bull's knee. Enkidu wears a wrap-around kilt, and the tasselled end of his belt hangs between his legs; he grasps the Bull's tasselled tail in his right hand and brandishes a dagger in his left hand (note that both figures are left-handed). The Bull is falling on the ground between the heroes, with its head towards the left, in the same posture as the stag above; it is human-headed, winged with small drill-holes and hatching on the neck and body. Ishtar's body seems to be turned to the left, judging from the curve of the tasselled shawl over her hip, but her feet are missing, due to a chip; she is looking back over her shoulder towards the right and wears a feather-topped crown, decorated with dots and with a single pair of horns; she grasps Enkidu's raised arm with one hand and seems to tap Gilgamesh on the shoulder with the other. The falling stag fills the space above the Bull of Heaven; two birds with outspread wings perch on tis back and swoop on it from the rear. Chips along bottom edge.

  • Date

    • 800BC-700BC

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