Worshiper facing god with stylus on dragon and goddess with star scepter

between 1000 B.C. and 700 B.C.
39 x 18 mm
Morgan Seal 691
Acquired by Pierpont Morgan sometime between 1885 and 1908.

"The principal subject of this group is that of a worshiper standing before deities (691-703). The appurtenances of the latter, especially their miters, bows, and sword sheaths, are decorated with stars, which are often indicated by globes. The deity, when female, sometimes appears in a nimbus of such stars (691, 698)... The earliest seal of this group [690-703] is probably 691. It is large and shows considerably more modeling than the others, indicating a lingering influence of Middle Assyrian glyptic. A date not later than the early part of the ninth century is suggested by the coiffures, which show curls sticking out at the back as on figures in reliefs of Ashurnasirpal II, instead of resting on the shoulders as they do in figures on the reliefs of later kings. In 691, furthermore, the two small deities in the sky, each placed in a nimbus of stars, recall a Middle Assyrian seal impression picturing a deity in this manner. However, the rendering of the goddess, who is surrounded by stars and holds a star scepter, is an innovation of the Assyrian engravers of the first millennium. Undoubtedly this figure is to be identified with Ishtar, the major star goddess of the Assyrians. While the representation of Ishtar in a nimbus of stars is found in other drilled-style seals (698) and also in linear-style pieces (679-683 above), the characterization of the god in 691 remains unique. He holds a stylus or double wedge, emblem of Nabu, god of writing; this symbol is usually placed in the field before a deity."--Porada, CANES, p. 84


Worshiper facing god with stylus on dragon and goddess with star scepter in nimbus of stars on lion-griffin -- In sky, seven globes; two small deities, each in nimbus of stars.

Southern Mesopotamia.