WESTERN ASIATIC SUMERIAN AMAZONITE CYLINDER SEAL OF KING KARAINDASH 14th-12th century BC
An amazonite cylinder seal with robed figure and eight lines of cuneiform text; the figure bearded with ankle-length robe, domed cap, implement in one hand; eight-line cuneiform Sumerian inscription (1) dšà-zu gada-idim 'Goddess Shazu with the weighty veil' (2) nir-til-til [m]e an-ki 'when you speak of the total dominations of the powers of heaven and earth' (3) dug 4-ga-zu hé-sar 'let it be written' (4) da-ga-an ma-da the totality - the land (5) kur hur-sağ til-bi 'the mountain, the mountain-range, all of it' (6) nam-en-bi hé-ak 'let its overlordship be exercised (by you)' (7) diğir-né ní-tuku-zu 'the one who reveres his goddess' (8) ka-ra-in-da-aš '(is) Karaindash'; supplied with a museum-quality impression. 17 grams, 37mm (1 1/2").
Condition Very fine condition. Extremely rare.
Provenance Property of a London gentleman; part of his family collection since the 1970s.
Published Accompanied by an Art Loss Register certificate.
Footnotes The inscription is in an archaic, academic Sumerian which was no longer a living language when the seal was made. The text addresses the goddess Shazu, the midwife, whose worship had subsumed into that of the mother goddess. The name Karaindash appears where that of the supplicant normally appears. This name is identical with that of a Kassite king of the 15th century BC, but the identification is not secure. This lot is part of a single collection of cylinder seals which were examined in the 1980s by Professor Lambert and most are accompanied by his own detailed notes; the collection has recently been reviewed by Dr. Ronald Bonewitz.