Masterworks from the Morgan Near Eastern Seals

Morgan Library and Museum
225 Madison Ave

Pierpont Morgan took great interest in ancient Near Eastern seals, as is evident from his collection, dating 3500–330 B.C. This exhibition displays a number of the best examples of these objects, which are among the earliest known pictorial carvings ... more

Pierpont Morgan took great interest in ancient Near Eastern seals, as is evident from his collection, dating 3500–330 B.C. This exhibition displays a number of the best examples of these objects, which are among the earliest known pictorial carvings used to communicate ideas. Created for about three thousand years in the region the ancient Greeks called Mesopotamia, or "the land between two rivers," the function of seals was both practical, as a means of identification, and amuletic, intended to protect or benefit the owner in some way. They are among the smallest pictorial objects ever produced—often just one inch in size—intricately detailed by sculptors who carved them with simple tools in semiprecious stones. This is the first time that the Morgan's collection of seals will be the focus of a theme-based exhibition—examining the development of the iconography of power as represented in the cylinder seals from their beginnings in the late fourth millennium B.C. with the emerging temple states through to the great empires of the first millennium B.C. The exhibition will end with the absorption of Mesopotamia into the Persian Empire, along with its ancient iconography, which was... more

Pierpont Morgan took great interest in ancient Near Eastern seals, as is evident from his collection, dating 3500–330 B.C. This exhibition displays a number of the best examples of these objects, which are among the earliest known pictorial carvings used to communicate ideas. Created for about three thousand years in the region the ancient Greeks called Mesopotamia, or "the land between two rivers," the function of seals was both practical, as a means of identification, and amuletic, intended to protect or benefit the owner in some way. They are among the smallest pictorial objects ever produced—often just one inch in size—intricately detailed by sculptors who carved them with simple tools in semiprecious stones.

This is the first time that the Morgan's collection of seals will be the focus of a theme-based exhibition—examining the development of the iconography of power as represented in the cylinder seals from their beginnings in the late fourth millennium B.C. with the emerging temple states through to the great empires of the first millennium B.C. The exhibition will end with the absorption of Mesopotamia into the Persian Empire, along with its ancient iconography, which was subsequently used by the Achaemenid kings until the arrival of Alexander the Great.

In addition to the cylinder seals, a larger-scale statue from the ancient Near East is on view to demonstrate the close relationship between seals and other major artworks. Highlights of the works on view include Nude Bearded Hero Wrestling with Water Buffalo; Bull-Man Fighting Lion (ca. 2334–2154 B.C.), an Akkadian period seal depicting two heraldic pairs and emphasizing the concepts of force and power, and A Winged Hero Pursuing Two Ostriches (ca. 12th–11th century B.C.), one of the most striking of the Morgan's Middle Assyrian seals.


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Masterworks from the Morgan Near Eastern Seals

Thu, October 28
10:30AM
$
Fri, October 29
10:30AM
$
Sat, October 30
10:00AM
$
Sun, October 31
11:00AM
$
Tue, November 02
10:30AM
$
Wed, November 03
10:30AM
$
Thu, November 04
10:30AM
$
Fri, November 05
10:30AM
$
Sat, November 06
10:00AM
$
Occurs 57 more times through Jan 14

Morgan Library and Museum

225 Madison Ave
New York, NY 10016
(212) 685-0008

Schedule

October 28, Thursday 10:30AM
October 29, Friday 10:30AM
October 30, Saturday 10:00AM
October 31, Sunday 11:00AM
See complete schedule

Category

Arts

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