Gem Seals

  • 4th - 2nd century B.C.
  • Carnelian, amethyst, agate
Catalogue Entry

4th‐2nd century B.C.
Carnelian, amethyst, agate
(a)H. 4.0 cm, W. 2.8 cm, Thickness. 0.5 cm(b)H. 1.6 cm, W. 1.3 cm, Thickness. 0.3 cm
cH. 1.8 cm, W. 1.5 cm, Thickness. 0.6 cm(d)H. 2.2 cm, W. 1.6 cm, Thickness. 0.4 cm
(e)H. 2.3 cm, W. 2.7 cm, Thickness. 1.0 cm(f)H. 1.5 cm, W. 1.7 cm, Thickness. 0.7 cm
(g)H. 1.9 cm, W. 2.6 cm, Thickness. 1.0 cm(h)H. 1.5 cm, W. 2.1 cm, Thickness. 0.5 cm
(a), (b) Both stones are oval carnelians carved with standing figures of the goddess Athena facing to the left. The figure is shown wearing a long sleeveless chiton belted below the waist. She wears an Attic-style helmet, and carries a shield in her spear in her left hand and a shield in her right hand. Seal b has the Greek letter for Z carved to the left of Athena and an inscription carved on the right side of the stone. The middle of inscription is missing and it cannot be deciphered.
c A violet quartz oval is carved with the bust image of a female facing slightly to the left. The woman wears a floral garland, necklace and earrings. There seems to be a mustache-like form beneath her nose, so the figure could also be interpreted as that of a male.
(d) An oval piece of agate is carved with a female head facing to the right. A crescent-shaped decoration rises above the head and the figure is wearing large earrings. This figure supposed to be Selene, the goddess of the moon.
(e) The level surface of an oval-shaped white-smoked chalzedon has been carved with a scene of a griffin facing to the right and grasping onto the head of a deer. The oval is pierced horizontally, and it is thought that this stone was originally strung on a gold circlet. The workmanship is that of a first rank Greek artisan, and this piece is thought to have been created by an Ionian artisan near the time of Alexander the Great.
(f), (g) The flat surface of oval pieces of milky quartz have been incised with figures of deer facing to the right. The deer on Seal f is seated, while that on Seal g is standing. The stones are pierced horizontally, and they are thought to have been originally strung on a gold circlet.
(h) An oval piece of amber-like chalzedon has been given a flat surface which was then carved with an image of a tiger walking to the right. The tiger's body is decorated with stripes and a bird sits on his back.