Cylinder Seal

Object Number:B16728
Current Location: Collections Storage
Provenience: Iraq
Archaeology Area: PG 800B
Period: Early Dynastic IIIB
Date Made: 2500-2340 BCE
Early Date: -2500
Late Date: -2340
Section:Near Eastern
Materials:Lapis Lazuli
Inscription Language:Sumerian Language
Length: 4 cm
Outside Diameter:2 cm
Credit Line:British Museum/University Museum Expedition to Ur, Iraq, 1928
Other Number:U.10872 - Field No SF
P269965 - CDLI Number


CBS Register: VI Season. Lapis cylinder seal found against the right arm of Queen Shubad. with the gold pin U.10940 (B16729) (3 pins and 3 cylinders)

UE II: Cylinder seal, lapis-lazuli.

This dark blue lapis lazuli cylinder seal was found leaning against the right upper arm of a queen. On it is engraved a double-register banquet scene with only female participants. All of the women wear a skirt or a dress with a long fringe, and their long hair is drawn together at the nape of the neck in a bun. In the upper register, two females sit on identical folding stools facing each other and raising their conical drinking cups. Between them, two standing servants gesture with raised hands, and to the far left a third servant stands gently waving a square fan. In a second banquet vignette in the lower register, a single female celebrant sits on a stool facing a high table laden with breads and a haunch of meat and is flanked by servants. Behind her, a woman holds a handled jar and raises a cup, perhaps offering a portion of beer to drink with the meal. To the side, a separate scene depicts a musical performance, in which one woman plays a small four-stringed instrument accompanied by two women who clap cymbals and perhaps sing. Two similar cylinder seals were found close to the body of the queen. On one, the banqueters drink from straws that drawn down liquid from a large jar. The other carries an inscription Pu-abi, nin designating the owner as Puabi, the queen. It is this seal that makes Puabi’s identity certain.

The two cuneiform signs that compose her name were initially read as "Shub-ad" in Sumerian. Today, however, we think they should be read in Akkadian as "Pu-abi."

Current & Past Exhibitions:

Ancient Mesopotamia: The Royal Tombs of Ur (1983 - 1998) View Objects in Exhibition
Five Thousand Years of Vanity (06 Jan 1944 - 28 Feb 1944) View Objects in Exhibition
Iraq's Ancient Past: Rediscovering Ur's Royal Cemetery ( Oct 2009 - Jan 2017) View Objects in Exhibition
Middle East Galleries (21 Apr 2018) View Objects in Exhibition


[Book] Quick, Jennifer. 2004. Magnificent Objects from the University of Pennsylvania Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology.. Philadelphia. University of Pennsylvania Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology. ed. 1st. Actual Citation : Page/Fig./Plate: 150View Objects related to this Actual Citation
[Catalogue] Horne, Lee C., and Zettler, Richard L. 1998. Treasures from the Royal Tombs of Ur.. University of Pennsylvania Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology. Actual Citation : Page/Fig./Plate: Pages 77-78/Figure 17View Objects related to this Actual Citation
[Book] Galpin, Francis W. 1937. The Music of the Sumerians and their Immediate Sucessors the Babylonian and Assyrians.. Cambridge University Press. Actual Citation : Page/Fig./Plate: Plate II:4View Objects related to this Actual Citation
[Article] Legrain, Leon. 1929. "The Boudoir of Queen Shubad". The Museum Journal. Philadelphia. The University Museum. Vol. 20. no. 3-4. pg. 210-245 Actual Citation : Page/Fig./Plate: p. 212, pl. I, AView Objects related to this Actual Citation

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