Seal with Hebrew Inscription

On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 453

The Hebrew text on this seal gives the name of the seal’s owner, his father’s name, and the word "prepared" or "fashioned," followed by the letters y-h-. One proposal is that this is the Arabic name Yahya, but there are other known Hebrew seals that end with the phrase "May Yahweh have mercy" or "The work of Yahweh," which may be the phrase included here. We do not know whether the find of this seal testifies to the existence of a Jewish community in eleventh-century Nishapur, or if the seal had been preserved because its foreign letters were believed to ward off evil. Arabic seals with random Hebrew and Syriac words, as well as ancient seals to which Arabic phrases have been added, are both well documented.

Seal with Hebrew Inscription, Carnelian; incised

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