Contest frieze with horned animal, bull-men, gazelles, and lions

between 2700 B.C. and 2500 B.C.
white limestone
19 x 10.5 (10) mm
Morgan Seal 55
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... Frequently, as in 53, 55-57, the human heroes are joined in their fight by a bull-man, who makes his first appearance in this age. It was thought by earlier Assyriologists that this bull-man could be identified with Enkidu, the friend of the epic hero Gilgamesh, while Gilgamesh himself was identified with the nude bearded hero with curls." Porada, CANES, p. 9-10


Horned animal between attacking lions, one of which is held by bull-man -- Gazelle reversed by hero -- Another gazelle reversed by second bull-man, who also grasps lion that initiates scene.