A Leaping Stag in a Landscape

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milky chalcedony
Overall: 1 3/16 × 3/8 in. (3 × 1 cm)
The Pierpont Morgan Library, New York
Morgan Seal 601

The artist who carved this stage—its antlered head proudly held high, its foreleg poised to land—must have been familiar with the extraordinary grace and dignity of this animal, whose name, lulimu, could also mean "ruler" or "prince." The significance of the scene is unknown; however, an echo of its meaning is found in a biblical text from the Song of Solomon (2:8–9), in which the bride speaks of her bridegroom: "The voice of my beloved! Behold, he cometh leaping upon the mountains, skipping upon the hills. My beloved is like a roe or a young hart."

Acquired by Pierpont Morgan sometime between 1885 and 1908

Tree on mountain beside three shoots, with bird on one of them -- Stag leaping down from mountain.