University of Pennsylvania Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology
Object Number:B1113
Current Location: Collections Storage
Provenience: Iraq
Section:Near Eastern
Materials:Lapis Lazuli
Credit Line:Purchased from Khabaza, Baghdad; subscription of R. F. Harper, 1889
Other Number:PBS XIV: 67 - Other Number
W.H. Ward no. 123 - Other Number


CBS Register: seal cylinder, lapis lazuli.

PBS XIV: two registers of the contests of Gilgamesh and Eabani, and probably a Sumerian king with wild beasts. This cylinder is closely and deply engraved with a mulititude of figures, some of them very unusual.

The upper register has four groups. A nude Gilgamesh in front face, with wild locks and beard stands between two lions crossed with two bulls. the same in profile fights with a rampant bull. A very extraordinary heraldi composition is formed of a lion headed man triumphant over two reversed animals, a lion and a deer. he holds them up by the tail, one of which terminates in a small lion's head. The last group shows a thoroughly archaic human figure, with a bird like head in profile, a fillet or a low turban, and a short fringed garment or Sumerian skirt, who holds up by the hind leg a reversed ibex. The cuneiform character: lugal, at the back of his head, proves him to be a king. On a marble cylinder seal from Tello, the same royal figure, with a latticed cap, long hair and beard, and a short loin cloth embroidered on the side , is reprsented fighting a lion. This will explain the presence in the scenes of contest of Gilgamesh with wild animals, of a purely human figure, with turban and loin cloth or a flounced skirt like the old Sumerian ruler Ur-Nina of Lagash.

The lower register has six groups, two of which show the same extraordinary composition as above. The lion headed man triumphant over two reversed lions, holds them by the tails, which this time terminate in two ibex heads. In the second group, the lion's head is changed into a head of Gilgamesh with wild locks and beard, while the reversed lions seem to melt into Gilgamesh's body. One of the tails terminates in a small lion's head. between those two heraldic groups, the bullman Eabani, spear in hand, attacks a lion that he has seized by the tail. The three last groups are a rampant lion crossed with an ibex; Gilgamesh holding a lion by the hind leg; the same nude hero, with head in profile, one hand lifted, ready to strike a lion rushing on him. Cyl. seal. Lapis lazuli, 27 x 17 mm. Bagdad, 1895.


[Book] Legrain, Leon. 1925. The Culture of the Babylonians.. The University Museum, Publications of the Babylonian Section. Vol. XIV.View Objects related to this reference

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