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Collections | Ancient Near Eastern Seals & Tablets

Views: List | Single work | Overview Zoom+ Rotate iconRotate seal

Male Figure Before a Goddess Drawing Aside Her Mantle
Cylinder seal and impression
Syria (ca. 1720–1650 B.C.)
23 x 11 mm
Seal no. 945
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For the ancient Near East, the act of procreation symbolized creation itself. The female figure in this scene reveals only her pubic area as if to emphasize this idea of procreation rather than mere carnality. The hand-to-mouth gesture of the male figure, as well as his downward-stretched arm, document his astonishment at the symbolic truth being revealed to him. The empty space between the figures emphasizes their gestures. The scene is framed by natural and mythical animals.

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The programs of The Morgan Library & Museum are made possible with public funds from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council, and by the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Andrew Cuomo and the New York State Legislature.

Background images: Photography by Todd Eberle unless otherwise noted. © 2006 Todd Eberle.