Bull with tail grasped by griffin-demon

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between 1400 B.C. and 1300 B.C.
colorless chalcedony
20 x 10 mm
Morgan Seal 595
Acquired by Pierpont Morgan sometime between 1885 and 1908.

"Dating of 594 in the fourteenth century is indicated by its similarity to a seal impression of that time (Weber 316a). In each instance a decorative motif is formed by using thw ings of the lion-griffins to frame a palmette tree. In the scene of the impression the shoulder feathers of the lion-griffin's wings are indicated by drillins. This distinctive detail (which appears to derive from Mitannian designs), though it is lacking in 594, does appear in 595. Furthermore, the delicate modeling of the latter seal indicates that it belongs to the fourteenth-century group of Middle Assyrian cylinders. It may be noted that in 595 the tip of the second horn of the bull is indicated; thus the bull's head is shown in a quasi three-quarter view. While such three-quarter profiles remain unparalleled in Mesopotamian designs, they occur frequently in contemporary Aegean art." Porada, CANES, p. 68


Walking bull with its tail grasped by griffin-demon on one knee, whose other hand touches same bull, thus initiating repetition of scene -- In field, inscription.

Southern Mesopotamia.