145. An Eastern Hellenistic Engraved Agate Seal

Black Sea area, mid-4th century BC
Size: 2.8 × 1.8 cm

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The carving of this layered agate is of extraordinary quality, showing a winged griffin with the beak of an eagle slaying a desperate stag. The subject was popular in the Black Sea area during the 5th and 4th centuries BC, and a Greek master craftsman must have made this superb example of Greco-Scythian art there. Unusually, it is pierced with two parallel holes, suggesting it was once part of a necklace or armband, and not made for a ring.