Attendant with fly whisk before king with cup and bow

between 1000 B.C. and 900 B.C.
black serpentine
43 x 13 mm
Morgan Seal 664
Acquired by Pierpont Morgan sometime between 1885 and 1908.

"In the reliefs of Ashurnasirpal II, the king is often portrayed in the act of rasing a cup while leaning on his bow. This may be a gesture preceding a libation, since a later king, Ashurbanipal, is represented in one instance with a cup, from which he is pouring an offering over dead lions. However, as there is no earlier example of such a libation, it is also possible that the king's gesture of raising a cup is in itself a complete ritual act, perhaps a mute invocation.... The figures in 664 correspond more closely in posture with those in a section of a scene depicting the receipt of tribute on the obelisk of Ashurnasirpal I, a king of the eleventh century B.C., than with those in any scenes in the reliefs of Ashurnasirpal II. Therefore 664 should probably be dated before the time of the latter king."--Porada, CANES, p. 79-80


Attendant with fly whisk before king with cup and bow; second attendant with indeterminable object before him, raising parasol(?) over king; third attendant with staff -- Crescent in sky.

Southern Mesopotamia.