Stamp seal (octagonal pyramid) with cultic scene


Not on view

This stamp seal shows an encounter between two figures who can be identified as male because of their long beards. The seal, carved with an octagonal face in the hard, lustrous stone chalcedony, appears in the photograph at left; at right is a modern impression in modelling clay of the image carved in intaglio into the seal face. In the impression, the figure at right wears a long garment with fringe at the hem and raises his hand to his face, palm inward, in a respectful gesture of greeting. The figure at left wears a fish-skin cloak and carries a bucket, shown as a square formed by incised lines with a handle at top. The fish-skin cloak identifies him as an āšipu (ah-shee-pu), a priest who tended to sick people by exorcising the evil spirits that were thought to be causing their illness. The fish-skin cloak connects this figure with the primordial land of sweet waters, the Apsu, the domain of the wise god Ea. The figure at right may be visiting the exorcist priest in order to be healed. Between them is a staff, mounted in upright position and topped with a globe; in the sky above is a winged disk, symbolizing the Assyrian chief god Assur. A diamond-shaped object appears behind the exorcist priest’s back.

Stamp seal (octagonal pyramid) with cultic scene, Veined neutral Chalcedony (Quartz), Assyrian

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