Art/ Collection/ Collection/ Art Object

Cylinder seal and modern impression: royal worshiper before a god on a throne; human-headed bulls below

Old Syrian
ca. 1820–1730 B.C.
H. 0.8 in. (2 cm)
Stone-Cylinder Seals
Credit Line:
Purchase, Raymond and Beverly Sackler Gift, 1991
Accession Number:
On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 403
In the area that corresponds roughly with the boundaries of modern Syria and Lebanon, there arose in the first half of the second millennium B.C. many centers of culture that maintained contact with lands both to the east and the west. The seals produced in this region—in a number of local styles—often bear imagery and stylistic features that relate them to Egyptian and Aegean art.

The main scene on this cylinder seal depicts a worshiper (probably the king) before a divinity seated above two human-headed bulls. The god is enthroned on a stool with lion legs of a type known from actual contemporary remains in wood and ivory from both Egypt and Anatolia. The smaller images include a sphinx wearing an Egyptian crown, and an ankh, the Egyptian symbol for life, in the field.
By the 1930s, collection of Mrs. William H. Moore (until d. 1955); from 1955, on loan to the Museum by The Right Reverend Paul Moore, Jr.; acquired by the Museum in 1991, purchased from Sotheby's, New York, December 12th, 1991, no. 110.

“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.

Williams- Forte, Elizabeth. 1976. A Selection of Stamp and Cylinder Seals from the Collection of Mrs. William H. Moore. New York: Metropolitan Museum of Art, no. 3.

Collon, Dominique. 1981. "The Aleppo Workshop." Ugarit-Forschungen 13, pp. 33-43, fig. 3j.

Imai, Ayako. 1983. In The Metropolitan Museum of Art: Selections from the Collection of the Ancient Near East Department, exh. cat. Tokyo: Chunichi Shimbun, no. 146.

Sotheby's. The Ada Small Moore Collection of Ancient Near Eastern Seals. 12 December 1991, New York, lot 110.

Aruz, Joan. 1992. "Ancient World." The Metropolitan Museum of Art Bulletin 50 (2), Recent Acquisitions: A Selection 1991-1992 (Autumn, 1992), p. 6.

Teissier, Beatrice. 1995. Egyptian Iconography on Syro-Palestinian Cylinder Seals of the Middle Bronze Age. Orbis Biblicus et Orientalis 11. Series Archaeologica. Fribourg: University Press; Göttingen: Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, no. 137.
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