sealstone; seals   (1600-1500 BC)
Artist:  Minoan
agate
5/8 x 15/16 x 3/8 in. (1.6 x 2.5 x 1 cm)
Acquired by Henry Walters, 1913
The Walters Art Museum
42.402
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Carved sealstones were popular ornaments among Bronze Age Minoans and Mycenaeans and served as insignia of rank and social status. They were influenced by the elaborate traditions of stamp and cylinder seals developed in the Near East and Egypt. The frequent appearance of bulls on seals may be inspired by the many Minoan palace wall-paintings and reliefs featuring the animal. In this sealstone the head and neck of the bull in the background are seen from behind.