Stamp seal and modern impression: geometric pattern
ca. 5600–5000 B.C.
Northern Mesopotamia or Syria
Steatite or chlorite
0.55 x 0.43 x 1.02 in. (1.4 x 1.09 x 2.59 cm)
Gift of Martin and Sarah Cherkasky, 1986
Not on view
Mesopotamian pendants of the Halaf period are usually of simple, mostly geometric forms. However, this stamp seal appears to represent a hedgehog, an animal that was native to northern Mesopotamia. The stamping surface is decorated with two superimposed grid patterns and a chevron pattern with a central line under the animal's head. Hedgehogs continued to be represented in Mesopotamia for millennia but the animal's symbolic or mythological significance is unknown.
Until 1986, collection of Martin and Sarah Cherkasky, New York; acquired by the Museum in 1986, 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. 1, pp. 48-49.