Saturday, August 1, 2015

Bactrian Fascination with the Cross Symbol

One of the most common findings of compartmented copper seals in the ruins of Bactria is a circular form with a cruciform pattern at the center of the open work or solid metal seal.  For example, here is a photo of one of the most obvious cruciform interior pattern with open spaces defining the cross shape with beams extending to an ornate frame with a scalloped outside edge.

I would guess - and it is just my guess - that this common symbol had something to do with the Bactrian cultural understanding of the four directions that divided the Earth and their religious veneration of the four earthly elements: Fire, Water, Earth and Air.  What is your guess????  Use the comment section below to respond or inquire.  I answer promptly. 

Here is another example, with more decoration within the solid stamp seal: 

The photo below shows a compartmented cast copper seal with the cross defined by the open spaces which would leave a raised impression that outlined a cross when stamped into wax or clay: 

The next photo offers a more complex cruciform pattern, but it is still evident to the eye of a long time Bactria art buff: 
Cruciform Bactrian Seal with Four "Beams" reaching to the circular frame
Contact me with questions or for invoice through the private message form at the top right of this page.

Victor Sarianidi, Myths of Ancient Bactria Margiana on Its Seals and Amulets

Contact me with questions or for invoice through the private message form at the top right of this page.

Here is my offer to make your collecting easier on the budget: 
I offer a Reserve and Pay in Partial Payments over 3 months for all purchases of $300.00 or more.  If you are interested, please contact me and we can make an arrangement that suits your needs.  

Unless the customer requests and pays for an expedited method, domestic and international shipping is via United States Postal Service. The item will be wrapped carefully and packed in protective material in a postal service approved package. Delivery confirmation and insurance will be paid by me, the Seller.

On purchases amounting to $300 or more, the shipping will be free. Otherwise, the shipping charge will be shown before checking out. 

I accept returned items if they are in the same condition as when shipped and if returned within a reasonable amount of time after receiving them. An item can be returned for any reason. I guarantee your satisfaction. 

For international buyers, it is important to note: If you need to know what import or VAT taxes your country may charge, please consult your Postal Service or government Tax Office.


  1. The four elements sounds right to me, and maybe the central circle is a solar symbol. :) I've seen quadrant symbols (I think that's what you call them) interpreted as the four seasons and the four cardinal directions. However, considering the geography, seasons probably don't make sense. This is fun to conjecture - have promo-ed, hoping more comments are left. Thanks, Anna, for sharing this!

    1. Thank you, Mary, for the comment and the promotion. You are very kind.