Stylus and spade on altar and worshiper

between 600 and 400 B.C.
yellowish chalcedony
21.5 x 20 x 13.5 mm
Morgan Seal 808
Acquired by Pierpont Morgan sometime between 1885 and 1908.

"...795-811 have been classed as Neo-Babylonian, because many seal impressions of corresponding style and subject have been found on Neo-Babylonian tablets of the sixth and fifth centuries B.C. In these impressions a relatively uniform style perists, though the dates of most of the tablets reach well into Persian times (for example, Philadelphia 965-969), and Persian seal impressions also appear on them ... The principal subject of the modeled-style stamps--a worshiper before an altar supporting symbols--is also rendered in a coarse drilled technique (804-809). As in modeled-style stamps, the symbols used include the lamp on its characteristic stand (804), and, most frequently, the spade and stylus, usually placed on an altar (804-808)."--Porada, CANES, p. 96, 99
Pyramidal seal with rounded top and slightly convex octagonal base.


Stylus and spade on altar above lotus blossom(?) -- Worshiper (facing altar) -- Crescent in sky.