5000 Years Of Seals & Signets

Posted in Performances

In pre-literate times personal identity was often represented by a seal or signet that served as a signature or, more properly, surrogate for the person who owned it. In ancient Sumer it signified a bond that invoked the higher powers, calling them to witness. Today it often includes “gold” foil, a blind stamp and a wink. The road has been long and fraught with impressions.

Time has almost obscured the image on this cylinder seal from Mesopotamia, but it still conveys the impression – similar to those in the British Museum – of people sitting around drinking beer through straws. Some historians believe that the hunter-gatherers changed their wandering ways and settled down when they learned to make beer. It is amusing to wonder who, 3600 years ago, chose this image as their personal identity.

_wsb_332x250_seals
Agate/Marble 3/8” x 3/4”
Kassite/Early Dynastic Period
circa 1600 BCE I
raq 

From:
Theatre of Memory program: 5000 Years of Seals and Signets