Cylinder Seal with King Holding Two Lions

Persia (Iran)
Achaemenian period (539–331 B.C.)
c. 5th century B.C. (reign of Darius)
Chalcedony
H. 1 3/16 in. (3 cm); Diam. 5/8 in. (1.6 cm)
AP 2001.05
Currently Not On View
This seal shows a bearded king holding lions aloft by their hind legs, standing atop a pair of human-headed sphinxes. On either side of this group is a standing archer, holding a bow and arrows in his hands, standing on a winged griffin. The iconography of the king holding an upended lion is a central motif in the royal art of the Achaemenid dynasty that ruled Iran in the 6th-4th centuries B.C.

Provenance

Private collection, Syria. Private collection, Lebanon, acquired between 1962 and 1968; (art dealer, New Jersey) by 1981; (Ward & Company Fine Art, Inc., New York), by 2001; purchased by Kimbell Art Foundation, Fort Worth, 2001.