A fine greek blue chalcedony double sided seal intaglio. Heron hunting an insect / hazelnut.
5th century B.C.
15 x 18 x 7 mm
The animal is facing right and grabbing a flying insect (fly or bee), an idyllic naturalistic repertoire of classical Greek glyptics. The scene is composed with elegance and engraved with great skill: the sharp beak is still clenched; the paw ready to grab the insect; the other paw on the ground to ensure balance to the bird. The reverse of this refined blue chalcedony seal presents a partially peeled hazelnut, engraved with realistic sense and great technical expertise. The carving is expertly polished, while the surface of the stone shows signs of wear and very slight corrosion in front. Backside, a large whitish spot to be considered as a characteristic of the stone itself (layer or burnt?). The artifact, drilled lengthwise, is to be considered of great rarity and beauty.
Parallels: Antike Gemmen in Deutschen Sammlungen, band II, Berlin n. 180, inv. FG311; J. Boardman, Greek Gems and Finger Rings, p. 288 n. 469; p. 289 n. 490, p. 287 n. 514, 518-519.
U.K., private collection 70's, in the same family since then.