Lot 2264: Western Asiatic Assyrian Chalcedony Cylinder Seal with Hero Scene
December 9, 2016
London, United KingdomLive Auction
Description: 1st millennium BC. A chalcedony cylinder seal with intaglio design of a kilted hero with headgear and beard grasping the foreleg of each of two rampant sphinxes attacking him amid vegetation; supplied with an impression of the design, old Christie's label to the reverse. Cf. Collon, D. First Impressions. Cylinder Seals in the Ancient Near East, London, 2005, p.81 for similar. 16 grams, 35mm (1 1/2"). Property of a North West London gentleman; previously with Christies, South Kensington, sale 9599, 13 May 2003, lot 303. The identification of this figure could be that of Lahmu, meaning 'hairy'. He was a protective and beneficent deity who was later associated with Marduk, chief deity of Babylon. Figurines of the god, who is represented with long hair and a beard, were used in the Neo-Assyrian Period as foundation deposits to ward off demons and sickness. A number of mythological creatures are known from ancient Mesopotamia which are hybrids composed of various creatures. The human headed sphinx is quite rare compared to the usual representation of composite bull creatures. However, they seem to have a similar role to the other monsters in that they represent the forces of chaos that are subdued by the gods. The chalcedony is deeply patinated, a process taking many centuries.
Condition Report: Very fine condition.