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Identification and Creation

Object Number
Scaraboid Stamp Seal: Stooping Youth
Work Type
late 6th century BCE
Archaic period
Persistent Link

Physical Descriptions

Dark green jasper
1.5 x 1.1 x 0.6 cm (9/16 x 7/16 x 1/4 in.)

Acquisition and Rights

Credit Line
Harvard Art Museums/Arthur M. Sackler Museum, Gift of Damon Mezzacappa
Accession Year
Object Number
Asian and Mediterranean Art

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This green jasper scaraboid stamp seal features an image of a male youth leaning on a staff while stooping to adjust his sandal. The youth’s body is rendered with thick bands, with swells added to indicate musculature. His eye, nose, chin, and hair are all indicated, and he wears a rounded cap with a brim at the front. The image is enclosed by a simple border. A large chip is missing from the bottom of the image.

This motif occurs on a handful of scarab and scaraboid stamp seals. A scarab in the Metropolitan Museum of Art provides a particularly close parallel (1). It has been identified as both Etruscan and Cypriot (2); however, since it was acquired by Luigi Palma di Cesnola, American consul on Cyprus from 1865 to 1877 and later first director of the Metropolitan Museum, it is more likely Cypriot, or perhaps Phoenician, in origin. The scaraboid in the collection of the Sackler Museum is thus likely also Cypriot. The male youth is sometimes identified as Theseus (3). According to legend, Theseus’ father Aegeus left his sword and sandals for his son to find under a huge rock. On this seal the youth reaches down for his ankle, thus drawing the viewer’s attention to his feet, and by extension his sandals. But there are a number of Greek myths involving sandals (4), and the youth on this seal is too generic for specific identification.


1. MMA 74.51.4221.

2. Etruscan: C. Weber-Lehmann, “These,” in Lexicon Iconographicum Mythologicae Classicae VII (Zurich, 1994) no. 4; Cypriot: A. T. Reyes, The Stamp-Seals of Ancient Cyprus (Oxford, 2001) no. 415.

3. Weber-Lehmann, “These,” no. 4.

4. M. Robertson, “Monocrepsis,” Greek, Roman and Byzantine Studies 13 (1972) 39-48.

Verification Level

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