Friday, May 18, 2012

Bactrian Copper Compartmented Seal

Bactrian ornament designers made small things: miniature statues, small stamp seals and pounds and pounds of small tubular and tabular beads.  On many of the stone stamp seals, the engraver carved a mythical narrative of heroic battles, or icons that illustrated the Bactrian world view.

The copper compartmented seals were often on a slightly larger scale than the carved stone seals.  But the compartmented metal seals, too, cast with Bronze Age technology and usually equipped with a looped handle to be worn as an amulet, often accompanied the owner to the grave.  Here is the photo and the story of one that is presently in my collection.
Ancient Bactria Copper Seal Authenticated and Published by Knowledgeable Archeologist  Contact me through the private message form above right.

Long after we left our two year residence in Afghanistan, this ancient Bactrian copper seal came into our collection through another resident of Afghanistan finding that we too had found Bactrian artifacts in the hands of dealers in antiquities in Kabul, Afghanistan. At that time, no one knew what culture had produced them, and certainly we did not know who had found them in the ruins of whatever old culture had produced them. We did recognize them as old and probably important to preserve. After we returned to the United States, we bought Bactrian artifacts from other dealers here in America. By that time, published material on Bactria was becoming available. 

We were very pleased to know that our small collection of seals and amulets was from ancient Bactria in Afghanistan, a jewel of a city along the Silk Road. It was active in trade even in ancient times. Its culture flourished from around 2,500 BC to 1,600 BC. But Balkh, the still present city in Afghanistan, was occupied by Alexander the Great in building his Asian Empire around 360 BC. So there is quite a long history and many valuable things to learn about this city and its several cultures. This ancient copper seal is called a 'cross shape' by Dr. Victory Sarianidi in his book on Myths of Ancient Bactria and Margiana on ... Seals and Amulets. 

It was photographed by Ron Garner and seen personally by Dr. Sarianidi at our home before he published the book. This seal appears as Number 332 on pp. 108,9.Size 3.7 cm diam.

Contact me through the private message form above right.

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