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A Winged Hero Pursuing Two Ostriches image

A Winged Hero Pursuing Two Ostriches
Cylinder seal and impression
Mesopotamia, Middle Assyrian period
(ca. 1250–1150 B.C.)
Marble
31 x 14 mm
Seal no. 606

Inscription abraded in antiquity.
See CORSAIR catalog record for this item »

In one of the most striking of the Morgan's Middle Assyrian seals, a hero pursues an adult ostrich, possibly representing the earthly equivalent of the griffin, the conveyor of death. The fleeing ostrich, with its head turned back in fear and fury and its feathers bristling, ranks among the greatest Mesopotamian depictions of animals. In the biblical Book of Job (39:13–17), the ostrich is considered a malevolent creature because it disdains its young, which may account for the presence of the young ostrich and enhances our understanding of this extraordinary seal.

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