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Near Eastern Sassanian Steatite Ellipsoid Animal Seal

Near Eastern Sassanian Steatite Ellipsoid Animal Seal


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Directory: Antiques: Regional Art: Ancient World: Near Eastern: Stone: Pre AD 1000: Item # 924673
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This Sassanian seal has an image of an animal, possibly a wolf or a fox. The carved image is seen on the flat side of the piece, and this piece dates circa 4th-5th century A.D. The carving is done by the creation of deep lines which accent the limbs and head of the animal. This piece is made of a hard black steatite, which is very difficult to carve, and consequently, there are few Sassanian seals that are made from this material. This piece is approximately .6 inches high, and has six carved round decorative circles that are carved in high relief. These circles are a hallmark of fine Sassanian artistic style, and this type of carving is seen on carved Sassanian glass beakers. (For the type see "Masterpieces of Glass in The British Museum", by D.B. Harden, London, 1968, no.137.) There is also a bow-drilled hole that is seen at the center of the piece, and this piece was probably part of a necklace. There are some dark brown deposits seen in various sections of the piece, and there are some minute stress cracks which are an excellent mark of authenticity. This type of seal is scarce, as the material is made of a hard black steatite and the degree of workmanship is very high. This piece is from modern day Iran and the black steatite stone is native to this region. Ex: Joel Malter collection, Los Angeles, CA., circa 1980's. Ex: Private CA. collection. I certify that this piece is authentic as to date, culture, and condition: