Contest frieze with horned deity, lion, and nude hero

Download image: 
between 2700 B.C. and 2500 B.C.
lapis lazuli
25 x 12 mm
Morgan Seal 62
Acquired by Pierpont Morgan sometime between 1885 and 1908.

"The theme of 62, in which a hero and a lion--both figures of the contest frieze--take part in the main scene, has been interpreted by Frankfort as representing the god of fertility seated before his temple. The classification of this seal is not quite certain, because the engraving shows an application of the drill that is unusually pronounced for this period." Porada, CANES, p. 11


Horned deity (?) seated before shrine and drinking through tube from vessel -- Human figure prevented from drinking by lion, which is attacked by nude hero with upturned curls -- Above the vessel, globes(?) and crescent moon -- In sky, two entwined lion-headed snakes, one touching shrine with its head.

Southern Mesopotamia.