Cult vessel in the form of a tower with cylinder seal impressions near the top
Not on view
This two-story tower is surmounted by a male figure grasping the hindquarters of two lions. A large vessel rests between the felines. A door is cut into the lower facade and a window on the upper floor; circular bosses indicating wooden beams appear at the top of each story. The entire stand is pierced from the vessel at the top through each level, including the bottom, so that liquid libations might be poured in a ritual of some sort. Such an object would have been used in a temple or sanctuary during religious rites. The style is crude in comparison to the delicacy of the multiple cylinder-seal impressions that were made across the top in front of the lions. The Syro-Anatolian seal depicts a seated male figure with a striding male before him dressed in a kilt with arms bent and held out in a gesture of respect and greeting. In between the two is a monkey as a filler motif. Behind the seated figure is a smiting deity wearing a kilt and horned crown. He holds what seem to be the weapons of the weather god—a lightning bolt and sword. The vessel is comparable to other second-millennium tower-shaped examples excavated in Mesopotamia and the Levant and probably was placed on top of an offering stand.
Use your arrow keys to navigate the tabs below, and your tab key to choose an item
Title:Cult vessel in the form of a tower with cylinder seal impressions near the top
Period:Middle Bronze Age
Date:ca. 19th century BCE
Dimensions:H. 31.4 cm, W. 8.3 cm, D. 11.4 cm
Credit Line:Rogers Fund, 1968
Acquired by the Museum in 1968, purchased from George Zacos, Switzerland.
“The Metropolitan Museum of Art: Selections from the Collection of the Ancient Near East Department,” MOA Museum of Art, Atami, Japan, The Aiche Prefectural Art Gallery, Nagoya, Japan, The Seibu Museum of Art, Tokyo, Japan, 1983.
“Las Casas del Alma: Maquetas Arquitectónicas de la Antigüedad (5500 a.C./300 d.C.),” Centre de Cultura Contemporània de Barcelona, Barcelona, Spain, January 13–June 15, 1997.
Crawford, Vaughn E. 1969. "Reports of the Departments: Ancient Near Eastern Art." The Metropolitan Museum of Art Bulletin 28 (2), pp. 57-58.
Imai, Ayako. 1983. "Cult Vessel in Shape of a Tower." In The Metropolitan Museum of Art: Selections from the Collection of the Ancient Near East Department, exh. cat. Tokyo: Chunichi Shimbun, no. 7, pl. 7.
Harper, Prudence O. et al. 1984. "Ancient Near Eastern Art." The Metropolitan Museum of Art Bulletin 41 (4), Spring 1984, pp. 21-22, fig. 22.
Hallager, Erik. 1985. The Master Impression: a clay sealing from the Greek-Swedish excavations at Kastelli, Khania. Studies in Mediterranean Archaeology 69. Göteborg: P. Åström förlag, p. 33, fig. 31.
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, pp. 13-14, fig. 4.
Karageorghis, Vassos. 1990. "Miscellanea from Late Bronze Age Cyprus." Levant 22, p. 158.
Bretschneider, Joachim. 1991. Architekturmodelle in Vorderasien und der östlichen Ägäis von neolithikum bis in das 1. Jahrtausend. Alter Orient und Altes Testament, Vol. 229. Kevelaer : Butzon & Bercker, no. 55, p. 216ff, pl. 58.
Aruz, Joan. 1996 and 1997. Les Cases de l'Ànima: Maquetes arquitectòniques de l'Antiguitat (5500 aC/300dC). Las Casas del Alma: Maquetas arquitectònicas de la Antigüedad (5500 aC/300dC), exh. cat. edited by P. Azara, Barcelona: Centre de Cultura Contemporània de Barcelona, Diputació de Barcelona. no. 29, pp. 187-189.
Muller, Béatrice. 2002. Les "maquettes architecturales" du Proche-Orient ancien: Mésopotamie, Syrie, Palestine du IIIe au milieu du Ier millénaire av. J.C. Beyrouth: Institut français d'archéologie du Proche-Orient, p. 62, fig. 174.
Aruz, Joan. 2005. “Sealing Beyond the Storeroom Door in the Aegean and the Near East.” In Studi in Onore di Enrica Fiandra, edited by M. Perna. Studi Egei e vicinorientale 1. Napoli: De Boccard, pp. 36-38, figs. 3a-c.
Pillsbury, Joanne. 2015. "Building for the Beyond: Architectural Models from the Ancient Americas." In Design for Eternity: Architectural Models from the Ancient Americas, exh. cat. edited by Joanne Pillsbury, Patricia Joan Sarro, James Doyle, and Juliet Wiersema. New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, p. 9, fig. 7.
Muller, Béatrice. 2016. Maquettes antiques d'Orient. De l'image d'architecture au symbole. Paris: Editions A. & J. Picard, pp. 193-194, fig. 152b.
Curator Joanne Pillsbury traces the role of architectural models from across the globe using objects from the Met's collection as well as those on view in the exhibition Design for Eternity: Architectural Models from the Ancient Americas.
The Met Collection API is where all makers, creators, researchers, and dreamers can connect to the most up-to-date data and public domain images for The Met collection. Open Access data and public domain images are available for unrestricted commercial and noncommercial use without permission or fee.
We continue to research and examine historical and cultural context for objects in The Met collection. If you have comments or questions about this object record, please complete and submit this form. The Museum looks forward to receiving your comments.