Hematite (also spelled ‘haematite’) is a mineral form of iron, which can appear in different colours – black, silver-grey, brown or reddish brown, and red. A great number of ancient hematite seals have been found found in Jordan. Of course, hematite is just one hard material carved with a design to create a seal: other possibilities include stone, bone, ivory, faience, glass, metal, wood, and even sun-dried or baked clay. In the ancient world, 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.
Jordanian Cylinder Seal with Nude Figures
A hematite cylinder seal of two standing nude males, who bear staffs and face another standing nude male, who holds a staff with wings. Two lizards are shown rearing up behind.
Provenance: Ex Rihani family collection, acquired before 1991.
Condition: Very fine condition.