An interesting and attractive black stone cylinder seal -
Above the figure 8 shaped guilloche is a horned caprid
and below a strange winged animal. There is an adorant, another figure and also
a Bull Man holding a staff
Quite worn with a rather faint impression.
Probably Syro-Cappadocian and circa 18th -16th cent BC.
My friend Phil Jones who is particularly knowlegeable
with cylinder seals writes:
You're right that these are difficult and the variations
are really tough to sort, especially because the Syrian glyptic influences the
Cappadocian, as it was the more dominant provincial standard and it had a
larger diaspora (even into the Levant, which I just recently learned about...).
From Briggs Buchanon's assessment of seals in the Ashmolean, one can piece
together how they differ.
Cappadocian material is provincial, with direct influence
corresponding to the early portion of the Old Babylonian Period (date range c.
1925 BCE to 1750 BCE). OB glyptic strongly influences the imagery and most
examples also show a thinner, more refined image of the figures, often in
supplicatory or dedicatory positions, similar to the OB standard. Syrian
Provincial material similarly draws from the OB glyptic, however figures are
much more rounded and almost cartoonlike, which is related to their development
of an early wheel carving technique. Normally, these are a little later in the
OB period; this wheel glyptic tends to show up around the middle of the period
(circa 1750-1595 BCE).
Your example shows skinny figures similar to the
Cappadocian style, but also has a very Syrian element in the figure 8 device
separating two animals. For that reason, it's quite tough to assess. I do think
though that technique on how this was carved is salient, as it suggests that
the piece wasn't wheel carved. Hence my suggestion that it is actually
Cappadocian or at least contemporary to the style.