Two winged horse-headed demons, each holding a lotus blossom, at either side of a sacred tree

between 2900 B.C. and 2400 B.C.
smoky topaz
15 x 10 mm
Morgan Seal 1103
Acquired by Pierpont Morgan sometime between 1885 and 1908.

"The occurrence of spurious Hittite hieroglyphs on this seal may indicate that the piece originated within the orbit of this type of sign, that is, in Syria or Asia Minor. However, the fact that these signs do not conform with the hieroglyphs found in Hittite inscriptions of about 1400-700 B.C., indicates that the seal was made after the time in which these hieroglyphs were in use. Such a late dating is supported by the design of the ornamental tree, which recalls in its general effect a corresponding design on the mouth of a sheath of Scytho-Persian shape found in southern Russia by General Melgunoff (O.M. Dalton, The Treasure of the Oxus, London, 1905, p. 5, fig. 38). This sheath as well as other objects of similar character have been ascribed by Dalton to a time after the end of the seventh century B.C. (op. cit., 2d ed., 1926, pp. 10 f.). Furthermore, the shape of 1103 conforms with that of some Achaemenian cylinders (838, 839). This is another ground for dating 1103 after the seventh and perhaps as late as the fifth century B.C."--Porada, CANES, p. 156


Side: Two winged horse-headed demons, each holding lotus blossom, at either side of sacred tree -- In field: star, crescent, dagger -- Terminal: pseudo-Hittite hieroglyphs above head of horned animal -- Base: Winged sun disk and designs as in terminal of side scene.