Nude one-eyed hero holding two lions; inclosure containing sheep; sheep-headed demon

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between 3400 B.C. and 3000 B.C.
green serpentine
50 x 40 mm
Morgan Seal 4
Acquired by Pierpont Morgan sometime between 1885 and 1908.

Cylinder unperforated; in both top and bottom shallow central cavity and outer circle of small depressions.
"Seal 4 presents as its central figure a cyclopic hero holding lions. The rest of the scene includes animals, pots, and other types of containers, as well as a human figure and two lion-headed eagles, all apparently meant to be within an inclosure indicated by two stockade-like frames. A related theme is found in a fragment of a vase from Khafajah.... The nude bearded hero seen in 4 remained a stock figure of the Mesopotamian repertory, aapearing for the most part in contst scenes. The cyclopic version of this figure in 4 is paralleled in only one other instance, an Early Dynastic seal impression from Fara (ancient Shuruppak). A plaque from Khafajah of some thousand years later shows a cyclopic demon whose head has the form of a sun. Because of the wide gap in time, however, there is no assurance that the hero in 4 is to be associated in any manner with this figure."--Porada, CANES, p. 3


Center: nude one-eyed hero holding two reversed lions, two more lions forming pyramid above him -- Left: section of inclosure containing sheep, latter between two pots, with lion-headed eagle perched on head of sheep; basket, pouch(?), fish, and bird in upper field -- Right: sheep-headed demon grasping pole of second section of inclosure; within latter, human figure(?) with upturned curls holding in outstretched hands indefinable curved object marked by vertical incisions; lion-headed eagle above horns of sheep-demon; crib(?) in upper field.

Southern Mesopotamia.