New York, Park Avenue
18 December 1998
A SASSANIAN RED AGATE ELLIPSOID
circa 4th-5th century a.d.
Engraved with a portrait of a man in profile to the left, sporting a moustache and pointed beard, his curly hair bound in a fillet, with a single pigtail in back, wearing earrings and two necklaces, one plain with a horizontal central pendant, the other beaded with a larger central beaded pendant, the bust fringed by four foliate motifs, framed by two leafy sprays, an inscription behind his head reading "Ardaxsahr"
16 in. (3.08 cm.) wide
Mohsen Foroughi Collection
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Gignoux, Sceaux sasanides de diverses collections prives, no. 20.10.
Frye, "Sassanian Seals in the Collection of Mohsen Foroughi" in Corpus Inscriptionum Iranicarum, no. 104.
The name Ardaxsahr (later Ardashir) is a common Sassanian personal name. It was also the name of the founder of the Sassanian dynasty. It is a later version of an Old Persian name rendered by the Greeks as Artaxerxes. There is no indication that the owner of this seal was royal, although the fact that he does not include his title or patronymic suggests that he must have been a well-known person.
Special thanks to Dr. P. Oktor Skjaervo for his assistance.
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