Long after we left our two year residence in Afghanistan, this ancient Bactrian copper seal came into our collection through another resident of Afghanistan finding that we too had found Bactrian artifacts in the hands of dealers in antiquities in Kabul, Afghanistan. At that time, no one knew what culture had produced them, and certainly we did not know who had found them in the ruins of whatever old culture had produced them. We did recognize them as old and probably important to preserve.
After we returned to the United States, we bought Bactrian artifacts from other dealers here in America. By that time, published material on Bactria was becoming available. We were very pleased to know that our small collection of seals and amulets was from ancient Bactria in Afghanistan, a jewel of a city along the Silk Road. It was active in trade even in ancient times. Its culture flourished from around 2,500 BC to 1,600 BC. But Balkh, the still present city in Afghanistan, was occupied by Alexander the Great in building his Asian Empire around 360 BC. So there is quite a long history and many valuable things to learn about this city and its several cultures.
This ancient copper seal is called a ‘cross shape’ by Dr. Victor Sarianidi in his book on Myths of Ancient Bactria and Margiana on … Seals and Amulets. It was photographed by Ron Garner and seen personally by Dr. Sarianidi at our home before he published the book. This seal appears as Number 332 on pp. 108,9.
Size 3.7 cm diam.