The Jemdet Nasr Period took place in southern Mesopotamia, known as Iraq today, with a great number of administrative cuneiform tablets and seals coming from there. The stamp seal was a carved object, usually made of stone, which first appeared in the fourth millennium BC and was used to impress pictures or descriptions into soft, prepared clay. These seals guaranteed the authenticity of marked ownership: as such, they were instrumental in legal transactions, and in the protection of goods against theft. Seal amulets with stylised animals have been found throughout Mesopotamia in contexts dating to the late fourth millennium BC, although stamp seals and cylinder seals were the predominant types in the ancient Near East.
Jemdet Nasr Monkey Stamp Seal
A carved bone seal in a form of a seated monkey, which holds a young monkey on its lap. The seal displays a pair of animals carved to the underside, and is pierced for suspension.
Provenance: From an important Mayfair collection; collection number 75; acquired before 2000.
Condition: Fine condition.