The J. Paul Getty Museum

Carved seal

Object Details

Title:

Carved seal

Artist/Maker:

Unknown

Culture:

Greek (Minoan)

Place:

Crete, Greece (Place Created)

Date:

2300–2000 B.C.

Medium:

Ivory or bone

Object Number:

2001.14.37

Dimensions:

2.8 × 1 × 1.5 cm (1 1/8 × 3/8 × 9/16 in.)

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Object Description

This seal is carved in the form of a crouching monkey. A roughly oval base is engraved with cross-hatching. Minoan craftsmen carved seals from stone, ivory, and other precious materials. When pressed into soft clay or wax, the engraved seals produced relief images. Such impressions were employed as signatures on documents, and to seal pots and other containers as a way to guarantee or label their contents. Simple designs decorated the earliest seals, while later examples show detailed pictorial compositions. Although stones found locally, such as hematite, carnelian, steatite, agate, and jasper were commonly used, seals were also produced from exotic materials, such as amethyst, lapis lazuli, and hippopotamus ivory.

Provenance
Provenance
by 1980 -

Hans Erlenmeyer, Swiss, Swiss, 1900 - 1967 and Marie-Louise Erlenmeyer (Basel, Switzerland), distributed to the Erlenmeyer Stiftung.

- 1989

The Erlenmeyer Stiftung, Founded 1981 (Basel, Switzerland) [sold, The Erlenmeyer Collection of Cretan Seals, Christie's, London, June 5, 1989, lot 19, to Robin Symes.]

1989 - 2001

Robin Symes, Limited, Founded 1977, dissolved 2005 (London, England), sold to the J. Paul Getty Museum, 2001.

Bibliography
Bibliography

Betts, John H. Corpus der Minoischen und Mykenischen Siegel. Band X: Die Schweizer Sammlungen. (Berlin: Gebr. Mann Verlag, 1980), p. 72, no. 31.

Christie's, London. Sale cat., The Erlenmeyer Collection of Cretan Seals. June 5, 1989, lot 19.