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Four Ancient Sumerian Stone Animal Form Amulets



Ancient Near East, Mesopotamia, Sumeria, ca. 2500 to 2200 BCE. A collection of four delightful animal-shaped, light-colored stone amulets, each pierced for suspension. Two appear to be bulls; the others are harder to identify, but may be horses. Two have circles incised into their sides. Comes with custom stand displaying all four. Size of largest: 1.3" L x 0.85" H (3.3 cm x 2.2 cm); size on stand: 6" L x 0.75" W x 1.2" H (15.2 cm x 1.9 cm x 3 cm)

The Sumerians believed strongly in magic, and the magical powers of amulets, created to be deterrents against the Evil Eye. The oldest of these amulets are stone animal form ones like these. The bull was a symbol of fertility and virility, as were the ram, the sow, and the horse. Lions were symbols of strength and were used to overcome enemies. Many of these amulets were engraved with protective motifs - like the circles on some of these - to bolster their magical prowess. These circles may be representative of the symbolic eyes common on Mesopotamian idols; we believe that wide open eyes are a sign of attentiveness to the gods.

Condition: All show expected signs of handling and wear; one may have lost its legs (or may never have had them).

Provenance: Ex-Private East Coast, USA Collection

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