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Oriental Institute

Lost Treasures from Iraq--Objects

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Principal Object Types

Alphabetical Index of Categories

Iraq Museum Numbers

Provenience / Excavation Numbers

Publication / Source

Selected Categories:

clay -- cylinder seal -- animals -- bull / cattle

clay -- cylinder seal -- animals -- lion

clay -- cylinder seal -- combat -- male versus animal

  • bibliography and image source: Postgate, J.N. and J.A. Moon .: "Excavations at Abu Salabkih, 1981". Iraq 44: 103-136. London: British School of Archaeology in Iraq, pl. V a.
  • copyright for image:  British School of Archaeology in Iraq
• museum number: IM87805

excavation number: AbS2092

provenience: Abu Salabikh

dimension(s) (in cm):
height: 2.6; diam.: 2

material: baked clay

date: (ca. 2500 BC)

The seal is made of yellow clay, smoothed outside and perhaps with traces of a black wash. The design appears to have been cut after firing, leaving the cut-back surfaces very rough. On the left of the composition a standing human figure extends his right arm to hold the tail of a lion which he stabs in its rear with a spear held in the left hand. The lion crosses behind a bull. The lion's head appears above the bull's back but there is no indication of its front legs. The bull's front legs are raised slightly above the ground level, but both animals appear to be 'passant', i.e., standing with all four feet on the ground. A second human approaches from the right, spearing the lion in the nose with its right hand while holding a curved weapon over its shoulder with its left hand. Both humans wear straight skirts (possibly tunics). All heads are in profile. The figures appear flat and crudely carved.

status: feared to be stolen

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revised: April 14, 2008 10:30:47
created: April 29, 2004
Copyright 2005 Oriental Institute, University of Chicago