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Crafts of the Past

Ancient Bactria Copper Bronze Seal Cruciform Floral Design Published

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by on 07-05-2012 at 08:04 PM (1857 Views)
Quote Originally Posted by CraftsofthePast View Post


This ancient copper seal also labeled as bronze by some scholars was created by artisans of Bactria. It repeats a traditional motif of a series of petals or circles that are arranged so that when looking at the impression of the seal the viewer sees the + shape crossed by an x shape. This seal has another common feature of seals and amulets of the third millennium B.C. in Bactria: it has a scalloped edge. On the back, there is a complete loop for hanging, cast as part of the unit. It also serves as a handle when making an impression.

This seal is published as photo number 708 on page 147 of Dr. Victor Sarianidi's work Myths of Ancient Bactria and Margiana.... Dr. Sarianidi saw the seal when he reviewed our collection in 1998. We provided photos for his publication.

The civilization that began to develop in ancient Bactria some 5,000 years ago was replaced by later inhabitants that have also been replaced, or at least their culture has developed in a new direction. But in the third millennium B.C., some 5,000 years ago, the myths that informed the culture were expressed in designs on stone amulets, seals, and vessels of various kinds. The myths were acted out in monumental temples.

One of the common practices in that culture was to identify oneself with a seal or what we moderns might call a signet, that is to say, a metal or stone object that would make an impression in clay or wax. This ancient cast metal object served that purpose. In Dr. Sarianidi's book this object is described as a 'copper seal, 4.2 cm diameter. Eight petal rosette with a circle in the center.'

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