Contest frieze with demon and lions

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between 2700 B.C. and 2500 B.C.
petrified shell
30 x 14 mm
Morgan Seal 59
Acquired by Pierpont Morgan sometime between 1885 and 1908.

"Though the composite monsters of 57-59 may be mythological, it is possible that the merging of human and animal forms derived from a desire of the artist to maintian the essential symmetry and compactness of the composition as a whole." Porada, CANES, p. 9


Three demons, whose legs are foreparts of merged lions, postured as holding latter by their tails, which end in serpent heads. Middle demon rendered full face, his hair indicated by short lines; other demons in profile, demon at right having upright curls.

Southern Mesopotamia.