Genius with date spathe and pollen basket

between 701 B.C. and 601 B.C.
black-and-grey chalcedony
27 x 15 mm
Morgan Seal 771
Acquired by Pierpont Morgan sometime between 1885 and 1908.

"The central element of the ritual scenes of 770-775 is the sacred tree. In these designs it is rendered in three different ways, namely: with graceful streamers and volutes (770); within the net of lines that may connote irrigation canals surrounded by shoots (772, 773); and realistically as a palm tree (774, 775). In 770 two genii, each with palm spathe and pollen basket, flank the tree... In 770-773 the gesture of the genii and the fish-men implies that the main theme of these seals (especially 770, 773) is the act of pollination of the sacred tree... Seals 770-777 may with certainty be classified as Neo-Assyrian cylinders of the latter part of the eight and of the seventh century. For example, in 770 the genii correspond in posture and garb to genii in the murals of Sargon II..."--Porada, CANES, p. 93
Cylinder damaged.


Genius with date spathe and pollen basket -- Tree with god in winged sun disk above it, kneeling figure on each wing of disk, bull-man supporting each wing below; worshiper at right -- Star and seven globes in sky -- Terminal: peacock.

Southern Mesopotamia.