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Collections | Ancient Near Eastern Seals & Tablets

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Leaping Stag image

A Leaping Stag in a Landscape
Cylinder seal and impression
Mesopotamia, Middle Assyrian period
(ca. 13th century B.C.)
30 x 10 mm
Seal no. 601
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The artist who carved this stag—its antlered head proudly held high, its foreleg poised to land—must have been familiar with the extraordinary grace and dignity of this animal, whose name, lulimu, could also mean "ruler" or "prince." The significance of the scene is unknown; however, an echo of its meaning is found in a biblical text from the Song of Solomon (2:8–9), in which the bride speaks of her bridegroom: "The voice of my beloved! Behold, he cometh leaping upon the mountains, skipping upon the hills. My beloved is like a roe or a young hart."

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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.