salut virtual museum

Discovering Ancient Oman

Seal with sun god in his boat

Akkadian cylinder seal with sun god in his boat (Invernizzi A., Dal Tigri all'Eufrate, I, Florence 1992: 351, fig. 618)

Tell Asmar, ancient Eshnunna
Chicago, Oriental Institute Museum (AS 11396)
Shell; H 3.7
Akkadian period (2350-2200 BC)
 
The seal represents the nightly travel of the sun god Shamash in the subterranean waters, on the base on belief that the sun passes through the netherworld during the night. The divine passenger, characterized by rays issuing from his shoulders, is seated inside a mythical boat with human-shaped prow, conventionally reported as minor deity.
 
In spite of its mythical meaning, the ship is depicted with the characteristics of the time, being clearly made of reeds, as the black Magan boats. (AL)