Nabu, the god of writing, faces a worshiper from atop a dragon. His square-topped headdress is adorned with a single horn and surmounted by a star. In his right hand, he brandishes his emblem: the stylus or double wedge, essential for impressing cuneiform writing onto clay tablets. Standing on a lion-griffin behind Nabu, enveloped in a nimbus of stars and globes, is Ishtar, the major star goddess of the Assyrians. The carver used a drill on this hard, semi-precious stone to create the dramatic stars and astral symbols that lend divine magnificence to the deities.
Ancient cylinder seal with modern impression showing a worshiper standing before deities, Mesopotamian, Neo-Assyrian period, ca. 9th/ early 8th century B.C. Carnelian, H. 3.9 cm. (1.54 in.), Diam. 1.8 cm. (.71 in.). Acquired by Pierpont Morgan between 1885 and 1908. Morgan Seal 691.