Contest frieze with heroes and ibexes

between 2700 B.C. and 2500 B.C.
green fluorite
37 x 21 mm
Morgan Seal 54
Acquired by Pierpont Morgan sometime between 1885 and 1908.

"The same desire for balanced composition determined the postures of the individual animals and humans in the frieze. The forms of the reversed animals in 53-55, 57, 58, for example, balance the outlines of the uprights heroes and rampant animals... Deep parallel lines marking animal bodies and indicating fur or hair, as in 51, 54, 58, are characteristic of this period." Porada, CANES, p. 9-10


Above: hero between reversed ibexes; crossed lions; another ibex held by second hero, who is on one knee and grasps reversed ibex that initiates scene -- Below: bull; lion; hero with upturned curls, grasping reversed ibex; foreparts of two ibexes merged in one trunk.

Southern Mesopotamia.