A BACTRIAN GOLD STAMP SEAL
A BACTRIAN GOLD STAMP SEAL

CIRCA 2200-1900 B.C.

Details
A BACTRIAN GOLD STAMP SEAL
CIRCA 2200-1900 B.C.
The solid, circular seal with the central figure of a winged giant, with muscular human torso and legs, the head and talons of an eagle, wearing a short open tunic with wide belt, and a pendant necklace, grasping in each hand an inverted ibex, heads turned back, with five Elamite linear-script symbols between his legs and above wings, suspension loop on the reverse
15/16 in. (2.4 cm.) diam.
Provenance
Surena collection, London, late 1970s-early 1980s.

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Lot Essay

While composite creatures are well known across the ancient Near East, the only close parallel to this piece occurs in a bronze axehead in the George Ortiz collection, cf. Exhibition catalogue, Afghanistan, une histoire millénaire, Barcelona and Paris, 2001-2002, p. 204, said to come from Daulatab, near Balkh in northern Afghanistan. Here the same man-eagle giant wearing kilt and pendant necklace appears holding, in each massive hand, an ibex by the horns. The date of the axehead is given as circa 2000 B.C.

The script on the above seal is clearly a form of the so-called Elamite linear script, which was used in Elam for a short period only, circa 2200-1900 B.C. Four of the five symbols written here have a parallel in Elam. The variation in angle and number of strokes is to be expected in scripts from such widely separated places.
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