Cylinder Seal


About this object

Gold capped stone cylinder seal with an engraved scene of seven standing figures, the central figure facing forward, feet splayed and wearing a long skirt as well as possibly a hat. She is probably the winged Mistress of the Animal and she is flanked by two standing lions and and two female figures on each of her side. The attendants are facing the central figure and are possibly leading a procession or a sacrifice. Standing lions also flank each of the female attendants. Scenes on these seals often feature a procession, sometimes toward a central figure, with one or more figures holding animals, sometimes with knives and other accessories that might be related to sacrifice

The seal has a central hole only on one of its side and it is pierced in the middle. The golden cap is loose and has a stepped appearance.

The carving is intricate, executed with a drill and a graver and it is typical of the so-called "Elaborate" style. The seal is concave in section, like many cylinder seals (a feature that makes them easier to roll out in clay).

Object specifics

  • Type
  • Culture
    Late Cypriot IIB
  • Artist/Maker
  • Place made
    Europe: Southern Europe: Cyprus
  • Date made
    1300 BC
  • Materials
    Gold; Haematite
  • Location
    Item not currently on display
  • Acquisition
    Gift of St Andrews University and Liverpool Museums Kouklia Expedition
  • Collector
    St Andrews University and Liverpool Museums Kouklia Expedition
  • Place collected
    Europe: Southern Europe: Cyprus: Kouklia: Evreti Tomb 3A
  • Date collected
  • Measurements
    38 mm x 16 mm x 16 mm
  • Note
    From Evreti,Tomb 3A, no. 19. The seal was found with a group of gold and silver jewellery and ivory objects. According to Iliffe's and Mitford's correspondence to the Department of Antiquities in the Ashmolean Museum, these findings were from a subsequent burial than the first use of the tomb in the late 15th- 16th century BC. The contents of the earlier burial had been looted and pushed away and there was no skeleton left in the later burial. Joanna Smith commented on the scene and design of this seal via email(16/05/2016 ). In the Paphos region, a hematite cylinder with some similar figures was found at Polis by Stathis Raptou. Copy of the unpublished article is in the electronic files. According to J. Smith such cylinders go back to LCIIA but continued in circulation and production in later periods. As at Polis, some were deposited in Iron Age contexts. J. Smith also compared the piercing in the middle of this seal with the one published by Dikaios from Enkomi no. 1, published by Edith Porada as a stamp and not a cylinder seal. J. Smith observed that someone tried to pierce that seal longitudinally and slipped and this may have been the reason it turned into a seal. Another seal with a similar piercing but a non Cypriot design is in the Van Vleck collection in the Princeton University Art Museum but it is not from Cyprus and its provenance is unknown (y1970-29). This seal is pierced through the diameter and thus cuts the design right at the mid-point. J. Smith also commented on the stepped appearance and design of the cap. Several cylinders could have one or two caps which were added. The caps differ slightly in design. Some cylnders were carved to have a short of stepped look at the end and some of those have one or more caps. For a summary of various figures in ceremonial or sacrifice scenes, see Webb's Ritual Architecture from p. 262 and on Elaborate style cylinders see Webb in Script and Seal Use 2002. Thomas Humphrey, PhD Researcher University of Wales Trinity St David, examined this seal on 4/11/2019 together with 56.22.71a and 56.22.71b ( PhD examining the relationship between agency (both human and non-human) and the expression of identity in Late Bronze Age Cyprus, specifically by looking at Cypriot cylinder seals, their context, iconography, and varied potential uses,
  • Related people
Object view = Humanities
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