Cult vessel in the form of a tower with cylinder seal impressions near the top

Period: Middle Bronze Age

Date: ca. 19th century B.C.

Geography: Syria

Medium: Ceramic

Dimensions: H. 31.4 cm, W. 8.3 cm, D. 11.4 cm

Classification: Ceramics-Vessels

Credit Line: Rogers Fund, 1968

Accession Number: 68.155


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.