AUD $110.00
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Bactrian Bronze Seal

 Sorry,  this seal is no longer available (but we may still have some similar ones.)

 

An ancient bronze seal from the Bactria Marghiana Archaelogical Complex (also known as the Oxus Civilisation) of the Karakum Desert in Southern Turkmenistan and the neighbouring countries, including Northern Afghanistan.

These circular bronze seals were owned and used by business women in a matriarchal Bronze Age culture on the trade routes of Central Asia, before the Silk Route officially began. It seems women ran the show and the Goddess was worshipped, that's before the men took over and God became a man.

I walked in on a documentary the other night where archaeologists were digging cities and graves in the Karakum and finding these seals in rich powerful womens' graves, buried near their faces. (quite feasible if like this one it has a hole in the handle to be worn on a string around the neck.) You may have seen the squat seated grey stone Goddesses, with detachable white stone hands and heads, from the same culture.

This civilisation was only discovered, officially, in 1976 and has recently come to the attention of the West with the collapse of the Soviet Union.

Trade and commerce are said to be the reason for the need and development of both counting and writing, used for tallying transactions and also leading to individual "seals" like this. Used for sealing or signing for goods by imprinting into damp clay. Each seal was designed to represent an individual, probably a business woman, this one having what I see as  3 swirling spirals with tails.

These seals were worn suspended from a cord, when not being used to seal parcels of goods. (the suspension ring itself has broken leaving about 30% on top of a comfortably formed, "organically" conical finger grip. This break would probably have led to its being lost, as I imagine it wouldn't just be discarded, as a security measure (?) 

Cast in “lost wax” this seal, would originally have been carved in wax, then cast in a clay mould.

Under the dusty build up is a lovely old dark patinated surface, with a warm, worn glow, with small areas of encrustation.

You obviously wouldn't want to polish it, as this would only be removing it's age and revealing the raw shiny metal that hasn't yet been exposed to oxygen. 

Age: Circa 200 BC - 400 AD

Size: Diam 20 mm x Dep 20 mm

Weight: 17 grams