The earliest stone seals of the Gulf region were made of steatite hardened by firing and often glazed after they were carved. The impression of the hemispherical stamp seal depicted here shows a male figure in the upper field who grasps a caprid by the neck. To the left, a male figure holds a staff. Below, a recumbent caprid reclines beneath a gridded rectangle. A snake and perhaps a monkey(?) are also depicted in the field. The hemispherical form and round sealing face are typical of seals of the Gulf region, as are the incised lines and concentric circles that decorate the back of this seal. Similar seals have been found in Mesopotamia, Iran, and the Indus Valley, areas with which Gulf merchants traded and with whom they shared a common visual vocabulary.
From 1986, on loan to the Museum by Martin and Sarah Cherkasky, New York (L.1986.47.95); acquired by the Museum in 1987, gift of Martin and Sarah Cherkasky, New York.
“Ancient Art in Miniature: Near Eastern Seals from the Collection of Martin and Sarah Cherkasky,” The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, September 10, 1987–January 10, 1988.
Annual Report of the Trustees of the Metropolitan Museum of Art 117 (Jul. 1,1986 - Jun. 30, 1987), p. 16.
Pittman, Holly, in collaboration with Joan Aruz. 1987. Ancient Art in Miniature: Near Eastern Seals from the Collection of Martin and Sarah Cherkasky. New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, no. 46, pp. 64-65.