A fine greek scaraboid seal in blue chalcedony. Dog.
18 x 15 x 5 mm
The quadruped is depicted in the act of scratching its head with the right hind leg. The body is turned to the right while the head is twisted backwards, with the snout slightly in three quarters. The animal has a robust and well-defined musculature; the curved tail passes between the legs. Some details of the legs, like the joints and the eye, are rendered with small spherical elements (globules, also called "pellets"), while the tendons and other anatomical details of the muzzle are executed with a thin engraved line. The intaglio is executed with great technical skill in the typically Greek taste of the second half of the V century. B.C. with numerous similarities and comparisons with the Greek-Persian production (excellent rendering of anatomical details and difficult torsional laying). Mirror polishing inside the intaglio. The stone shows signs of wear and slight chipping on the edge surrounding the carving; on the back there are more expanded chips and the trace of the through hole. Probably the backside of the scaraboid has been reworked in ancient times following the breaking of the section with the through hole (to be partially re-shaped on the back, originally convex) as confirmed by the ancient signs of wear on the back. Attractive variety of blue chalcedony that takes on extraordinary opalescent tones in transparency. Work of great rarity, artistic beauty and technical expertise. English private collection N.M. before 1975. For comparisons: J. Boardman, Greek gems and finger rings, n. 510, 521, 522, 572 (Paris, BN, inv. M5749), p. 303 cap. VI "Greeks and Persians", n. 833, 866, 869 and 900 (for the tail); J. Boardman, Intaglios and rings. Greek, Etruscan and Eastern from a private collection, n. 50 p.91; Beazley Archive, Gem Database; G. M. Richter, Catalog of the engraved gems. Greek, etruscan and roman. The Metropolotan Museum of New York, p. pl. XX, n.116 (for the detail of the tail between the two legs), n.117; J. Boardman, Masterpieces in miniatures. Engraved gems from prehistory to the present, p. 79 n. 70; Furtwngler, A.G., tav. XII n. 44. For the installation: carabiner scaraboids, Beginning of 5th century B.C. n. inv. 99.356, Boston, Museum of Fine Arts.
Second half of the 5th century BC