103 • An Agate Seal of the Kushanshah King Hormazd I

Central Asia, 271–356 AD
Size: 3 cm high

The large dome-shaped seal engraving depicts a bust of the first Kushanshah king, Hormazd I. The technique of engraving is similar to Kushan and Hephthalite intaglios, and different from Sasanian seals. The hair knots in snail curls are typical of Kushanshah style, and the lion bust also is a symbol of power. At this period the three political forces, the Hephthalite Huns, the Kushans and the Sasanians, fought for control of the fertile area between Merv and Sindh. Hormazd I and Shapur II signed a treaty to co-operate against the Huns, so it is fitting that their seals appear here together.

The report of the scientific examination by Striptwist Laboratory is available.