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Salut Museum


Cylinder seal with naked hero

Akkadian cylinder seal with naked hero (Courtesy of the British Museum)

Unknown provenance
London, British Museum (BM 89147)
Brown and white quartz or chalcedony; H 3.6
Akkadian period (2350-2200 BC)
Cylinder seal with bevelled edges and slightly chipped.
It depicts a contest scene with two antithetical groups, each consisting of a bearded hero, traditionally interpreted as Gilgamesh, wrestling with a lion. The kneeling hero, in profile and full face, is naked except for a belt (the same of the copper statue of standard-bearer); one arm is round the lion's neck, while the other is reaching round the lion's body to grasp its tail.
The original inscription was erased and replaced by rushes; the other one was later reinscribed.
The seal carving testifies a high ability, showing small details of the bodies, as the hair, beard and muscles. (AL)