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Collections | Ancient Near Eastern Seals & Tablets

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Nude Bearded Hero Subduing Bull; Bull Man Overpowering Lion
Cylinder seal and impression
Mesopotamia, Akkadian period
(ca. 2334–2154 B.C.)
Jasper
32 x 22 (20) mm
Seal no. 162
Rotate seal
See CORSAIR catalog record for this item »

This seal exemplifies the fully developed Akkadian style. In carving the figures, the artist demonstrated a real feeling for and understanding of human and animal forms. The design of the two heraldic pairs emphasizes the concepts of force and power. Through the strength of the nude bearded hero and the bull man, the natural world represented by the lion and the water buffalo is dominated and controlled. Perhaps the tree, set on a stylized mountain, and the space surrounding the figures were meant to indicate the gigantic scale on which the figures were to be imagined.

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