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MFA for Educators

Engage your students with the collections of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, to illustrate themes and concepts in any discipline.

Evolution of Seals

  • Cylinder seal

    Slide Notes

    Details

    Cylinder seal

    1500–1350 B.C.

    Dimensions

    Overall: Length 2.3 cm (7/8 in.)

    Medium

    Haematite, intaglio

    Classification

    Seals

    Accession Number

    98.701

    Collections
    The Ancient World
    On View
    Ancient Near East Gallery - 110 More Info

    Description

    Two bullmen (kusarikku's) hold a standard surmounted by a cartouche (the sign ankh between two birds). To the left, a tall female figure holding the ankh sign stands with two figures who face her, an Egyptian-looking male figure under a winged globe, and a goddess (Hathor?). Between them is a young boy with side lock. S.L. 9.

    Multimedia

  • Stamp seal

    Slide Notes

    Details

    Stamp seal

    550–331 B.C.

    Dimensions

    Overall: 2.3 cm (7/8 in.)

    Medium

    Sapphirine chalcedony

    Classification

    Seals

    Accession Number

    27.652

    Collections
    The Ancient World
    On View
    Ancient Near East Gallery - 110 More Info

    Description

    Neo-Babylonian style Achaemenid stamp-seal. Human figure (priest?) standing before altar on which is a recumbent lion-headed horned griffin, probably a symbol of the Underworld god Nergal. Crescent, spade standard of Marduk, and stylus standard of Nabu in field above. B.B. 284.4.

    Multimedia

  • Cylinder seal

    Slide Notes

    Details

    Cylinder seal

    1500–1350 B.C.

    Dimensions

    Overall: Length 2.1 cm (13/16 in.)

    Medium

    Haemetite, intaglio

    Classification

    Seals

    Accession Number

    98.702

    Collections
    The Ancient World
    On View
    Ancient Near East Gallery - 110 More Info

    Description

    To left, goddess with raised hands, facing a male figure wearing skull-cap and turban (king?). The rest of the circumference divided in three horizontal bands. Top, two sphinxes; middle, guilloche; bottom, two lions, one holding a dead stag. S.L.10.

    Multimedia

  • Cylinder seal

    Slide Notes

    Details

    Cylinder seal

    1800–1300 B.C.

    Dimensions

    Overall: Length 1.9 cm (3/4 in.)

    Medium

    Haematite

    Classification

    Seals

    Accession Number

    01.7607

    Collections
    The Ancient World
    On View
    Ancient Near East Gallery - 110 More Info

    Description

    Mythological contest scene. Two men seizing and attacking a third between them; two smaller men grasping each other around the shoulder. S.L. 568.

    Multimedia

  • Cylinder seal

    Slide Notes

    Details

    Cylinder seal

    550–331 B.C.

    Medium

    Sapphirine chalcedony

    Classification

    Seals

    Accession Number

    21.1193

    Collections
    The Ancient World
    On View
    Ancient Near East Gallery - 110 More Info

    Description

    Persian King in chariot with charioteer shooting at a winged griffin. Winged disk hovering above.

    Multimedia

  • Cylinder seal

    Slide Notes

    Details

    Cylinder seal

    1894–1595 B.C.

    Dimensions

    Overall: 3.2 cm (1 1/4 in.)

    Medium

    Brownish chalcedony

    Classification

    Seals

    Accession Number

    27.648

    Collections
    The Ancient World
    On View
    Ancient Near East Gallery - 110 More Info

    Description

    Presentation scene. A worshipper figure wearing a long fringed robe, skull-cap and turban (king?) offering libation in front of a two-faced divinity (Usmu) one of whose feet rests on a cross-hatched footstool. The deity holds the lion-demon standard, an emblem of the underworld god Nergal. Behind worshipper stand a figure with shaven head (priest?) carrying bucket and vessel, and a suppliant goddess with raised hands. B.B. 295.1.

    Multimedia

  • Cylinder seal

    Slide Notes

    Details

    Cylinder seal

    2900–2334 B.C.

    Dimensions

    Overall: 3.4 x 1.8 cm (1 5/16 x 11/16 in.)

    Medium

    Brownish limestone

    Classification

    Seals

    Accession Number

    34.1444

    Collections
    The Ancient World
    On View
    Ancient Near East Gallery - 110 More Info

    Description

    Contest scene. Two criss-crossed rampant lions; one is devouring a bull and the other a long horned animal. The long horned animal is menaced from behind by a nude hero wearing a feather crown and the bull by a bullman. A small long-horned animal at end of scene.

    Multimedia

  • Cylinder seal: hunting scene in...

    Slide Notes

    Details

    Cylinder seal: hunting scene in mountains

    2334–2154 B.C.

    Dimensions

    Overall: 3.6 cm (1 7/16 in.)

    Medium

    Diorite, intaglio

    Classification

    Seals

    Accession Number

    34.199

    Collections
    The Ancient World
    On View
    Ancient Near East Gallery - 110 More Info

    Description

    Landscape scene. Hunters in small scale are shown in a wooded, rocky, mountainous terrain inhabited by lions, mountain goats, a fox, and a boar; the sun shines above. The setting is probably the Zagros Mountains, East of Mesopotamia.

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  • Cylinder seal

    Slide Notes

    Details

    Cylinder seal

    883–612 B.C.

    Dimensions

    Overall: 2 cm (13/16 in.)

    Medium

    Pale pink chalcedony

    Classification

    Seals

    Accession Number

    34.208

    Collections
    The Ancient World
    On View
    Ancient Near East Gallery - 110 More Info

    Description

    The Assyrian "sacred tree" surmounted by anthropomorphized winged god inscribed in crescent and wearing a headdress topped by a crescent (the Moon god Sin?). Two symmetrical anthropomorphic figures also come out of the wings. The tree and the moon god are flanked by an Assyrian official at left, and a fish-apkallu (antediluvian sage) holding cone (mulillu) and bucket (banduddu) at right. A mace stands in front of the official, and the sylus of Nabu stands in front of the fish-apkallu. The Hebrew owner of the seal is inscribed in Aramaic.

    Multimedia

  • Cylinder seal

    Slide Notes

    Details

    Cylinder seal

    2900–2334 B.C.

    Dimensions

    Overall: 3.4 cm (1 5/16 in.)

    Medium

    Marble

    Classification

    Seals

    Accession Number

    34.194

    Collections
    The Ancient World
    On View
    Ancient Near East Gallery - 110 More Info

    Description

    Two registers. Upper: Two goats flanking or nibbling on a bush (cf. "Ram and the thicket" found in Ur by Woolley). Lower: Banquet scene.

    Multimedia