A Phoenician Hemitite Seal of a Winged Lion
Seals were used throughout the ancient Levant to identify the sender while ensuring the document’s security. Most seals belonged to men in the patriarchal society of Phoenicia, yet some have been found that belonged to women of powerful rank. Some of these pieces are ornate with icons and text, while others belie the humble status of their owners.
This seal was skillfully carved out of Hematite, a strong mineral of deep browns and rusty reds. The winged lion within was a widely recognized symbol of power in the ancient Phoenician culture. The deliberate marks of lion’s wings rise up to a sharply angled tip, while the mane and claws show the artist’s attention to texture and detail even on this small scale. This piece dates from approximately 500 – 300 BC and is in excellent condition.