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Ernst Herzfeld recorded and ac quired a number of seals related to Plate XXXVI/1 at the site of Tepe Giyan (Gīān) near Nehāvand (Plate XXXVI/2, 3; Herzfeld, p. This seems to be a specifically Persian feature on hemispheroids and button seals.Variations of this seal design produced by the introduction of zigzag lines and the organization of the pattern in relation to a median line were collected by Jean Deshayes (1974a) from Susa A; Sialk III 4-5 (Plate XXXVI/11; Ghirshman, 1938, pl. At Hissar in level I many seals are square and stalk-handled, though round and oval seals also occur (Plate XXXVI/12, 13; Schmidt, 1933, pl. Center-dot circles and undulating lines introduce variations in the simple and often carelessly drawn designs. Schmidt pointed out that as many as six “seals,” sometimes graded in size, lay on the chests or beside the upper arms of the skeletons.
The earliest types of stamp seals in Persia were probably the variously shaped small chlorite amuletic objects, marked on the sealing surface by parallel grooves, of which one example (Plate XXXVI/1; Henrickson, fig. 1/A) was found in a level of the Dalma (Dalmā = Kangāvar) period (ca. To this early period also belong seal designs from Seh Gabi with simple decoration of the circular stamp ing surface by a division into four quadrants, each quadrant filled with horizontal lines at right angles to the two adjoining quadrants. 2: SG 73.250) and may indicate the beginning of this well-organized design. The next phase of stamp seals that can be distinguished at Seh Gabi belongs to a period called Kangāvar VII (ca. There were three hemi spherical seals, one of them a high hemispheroid, and two button seals, a form specific to Persia having a convex sealing surface and a square or rounded, perfo rated knob for suspension in the back (Plate XXXVI/6, 8; Henrickson, fig. A similar design is seen on a button seal from Tepe Sialk (Sīalk; Plate XXXVI/7; Ghirshman, 1938, pl. 117) and on one from Tepe Bendebal which has two perforations, perhaps to make up for a broken knob, although no traces are indicated in the drawing (Dollfus, 1983, p. 3: SG 73.54, SG 73.18) have a more complicated design.A supposedly hu man figure occurs in the glyptic of Seh Gabi. 3600-3100 b.c.e.; Plate XXXVIII/1) is described as “a squatting nude male figure” (Henrickson, p. The impressions from both Sharafabad and Seh Gabi, whether showing man or monkey, mark the transition to scenes with a narrative content, examples of which occur on multifigured seal impressions from Sharafabad (Plate XXXVIII/4, 5; Wright et al., fig. These scenes express one of the principal new functions of seals in Persia in the Middle Uruk period: to record human activities, here some sort of procession and perhaps processing of milk products. Unlike the row composition of the cylin der-seal impression from Sharafabad (Plate XXXVIII 4) the example from Susa (Plate XXXVIII/7) may show a human figure in some sort of relation with an animal, while two more animals seem to be facing each other.The imprints represent ing a human foot from Sharafabad (Plate XXXVIII/6) may indicate the use of stamps as amulets, doubtless for the protection of the foot, conceivably against serpent bite, to which the foot was most exposed. This shows increased variation in the composi tion, but the figures were still created with a drill, which was obviously in the initial stages of its use: Traces of the drill were not yet being eliminated by subsequent careful work with a graver..Holly Pittman (1990) points out that the fully descriptive scenes of activities cease at the end of the Uruk phase of level 17, at the time at which the shape of the tablets changed and written signs probably took over the notational function that had been filled earlier by glyptic designs..The Proto- Elamite period was a development specific to Persia; it reached the distant frontiers of the country in what must have been a network of communication and exchange probably emanating from Susa (for an early essay on that subject, see Weiss and Young).The scheme is a combination of a cross with two opposed equilateral triangles overlaying each other. This may suggest that the design had a specific meaning. The number of figured designs on Chalcolithic seals is small in comparison with the geometric ones.
It is sketched in simplified form on a deformed lenticular tablet from the Acropole of Susa dated in the Proto-Elamite period (Amiet, 1971, p. The large size of that stamp is related to the large stamps found by Geneviève Dollfus at Djaffarabad (Jaʿfarābād), an example of which is shown in Plate XXXVII/2 (Dollfus,1971, p. To the same period as the large seals just discussed, however, Susa I, belongs a stamp seal (Plate XXXVII/3; Amiet, 1972, no.
143), which shows a bovine animal with a long-legged feline above it and a dog at the side; the rest of the field is filled with swastika designs. A seal of unparalleled style with two animals comes from level 27 of the Acropole at Susa.
The body of the bovine animal is stylized in two triangles with incurving sides, corresponding to the stylization of horned animals on Susa pottery, for example, the great beaker, frequently reproduced (Amiet, 1966, p. It shows a leaping feline above a goat facing in the opposite direction (Plate XXXVII/4; Amiet, 1971, pl. A perhaps slightly later low hemispheroid from Seh Gabi (Plate XXXVII/5; Henrickson, pl.
Elabo rate ornamental designs were found among the seal designs of the intermediate layer B at Susa; they were anchored in level 25 of the Acropole by one such design (Plate XXXVII/9; Amiet, 1973b, pl. A simple cross on a button seal (Plate XXXVII/10, with strongly convex sealing surface) was also found in level 25 of the Acropole and indicates the Late Chalcolithic date of that frequent motif. Both the drawing and the photograph, however, clearly show the figure’s tail between its legs, which is not mentioned in the text but which seems to show a monkey, rather than a man. One drawing shows a creature with a tail, the other without it.
A new feature in the shape of stamp seals was noted in the collars at the suspension holes of the example in Plate XXXVII/11, found in level 23 of the Acropole (Amiet, 1971, pl. The design, consisting of rows of curving lines, resembles some devices for decorating other Late Chalcolithic stamps.. The design is compared to two from Sharafabad (Šarafābād; Plate XXXVIII/2, 3; Wright et al. Both drawings had to be turned at a right angle from the position in which they had been published so that the figure would appear seated instead of bent over, which is a posture not found for humans, monkeys, or demons on stamp seals.
CLXIII/81, CLXIV/94-96) and Tell Asmar in Mesopotamia (Frankfort, 1935, p. 30), the figure obviously had a wide distribution beyond Lorestān.