Stamp seal, human hand

citation

Ellipsoid shaped stamp seal of human hand motif with thumb and forefinger joined, terminating in cuplike base within a pair of ribbons. Above, Pahlavi inscription; to left six-pointed star, to right, crescent moon. Seals with the motif of a hand have been excavated on sealings or bullae at sites like Takht-e Sulaiman and Qasr Abu Nasr in Iran. A hand held in this gesture can communicate good wishes or a blessing.

Historical period(s)
Sasanian period, 224-651
Medium
Agate
Dimensions
H x W: 2 x 1.3 cm (13/16 x 1/2 in)
Geography
Iran
Credit Line
Gift of the Duncan M. Whittome Revocable Trust in memory of Ambassador and Mrs. James S. Moose, Jr.
Accession Number
F1993.18.23
On View Location
Currently not on view
Type

Seal

Provenance

From 1930s
Mr. and Mrs. James S. Moose, Jr., purchased in Iran in the 1930s. [1]

Duncan M. Whittome, by gift or inheritance from his parents, Mr. and Mrs. James S. Moose, Jr. [2]

To 1993
Duncan M. Whittome, Revocable Trust. [3]

From 1993
Freer Gallery of Art, gift of Duncan M. Whittome, Revocable Trust. [4]

Notes:

[1] Purchased in Iran by the parents of Duncan Whittome, Mr. and Mrs. James S. Moose, Jr., while in the Foreign Service during the 1930s.

[2] See note 1.

[3] Freer Gallery of Art Purchase List after 1920 file, Collections Management Office.

[4] See note 3.

Description

Ellipsoid shaped stamp seal of human hand motif with thumb and forefinger joined, terminating in cuplike base within a pair of ribbons. Above, Pahlavi inscription; to left six-pointed star, to right, crescent moon. Seals with the motif of a hand have been excavated on sealings or bullae at sites like Takht-e Sulaiman and Qasr Abu Nasr in Iran. A hand held in this gesture can communicate good wishes or a blessing.

Label

Note: (Kate Theimer, 13 December 1995) As of this date, this entry contains the most complete information regarding this object. All information from the object file has been entered. Original correspondence relating to this object may be found in the object file in Office of the Registrar. All comments after this one will be in chronological order.

1. (A. Nagel, August 2013) The hand motif is very popular in Sasanian Art. A. Soudavar, "The Vocabulary and Syntax of Iconography in Sasanian Iran" Iranica Antiqua XLIV, 2009: 417-460 describes various aspects of the hand motif.

Web Resources
Whistler's Neighborhood
Google Cultural Institute
Rights Statement

Copyright with museum