Griffin-demon tearing branch from tree

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between 1200 B.C. and 1050 B.C.
red sard
38 x 15 mm
Morgan Seal 609
Acquired by Pierpont Morgan sometime between 1885 and 1908.

"Seal 609 presents an even more unusual theme in the griffin-demon breaking a branch from a tree. In Neo-Assyrian glyptic and monumental art, griffin-demons are often portrayed in the action of fertilizing the female blossoms of the date palm with spathes that are generally regarded as containing the pollen of this plant. It seems possible that the griffin-demon here is picking off a branch for the purpose of securing such male flowers... The name Ashur-iddin in the inscription of this seal has been regarded by Herzfeld... as referring to the Assyrian year official of 882 B.C. Herzfeld has accordingly dated 609 as belonging to the ninth century B.C. However, since Ashur-iddin is a frequently appearing Assyrian name, stylistic reasons for classifying the seal as belongin to the end of the Middle Assyrian period have outweighed the argument for dating it on the basis of its inscription."--Porada, CANES, p. 70-71


Griffin-demon tearing branch from tree -- Terminal: inscription.

Southern Mesopotamia.