Contest frieze with bull-men and lions

between 2700 B.C. and 2500 B.C.
white-and-grey marble
23.5 x 12 mm
Morgan Seal 56
Acquired by Pierpont Morgan sometime between 1885 and 1908.

"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. 10


Center: reversed bull-man between two lions, whose legs he clutches, while lions are each assailed by skirted hero -- Terminal: two entwined serpents.

Southern Mesopotamia.