Circa twenty-second century b.c.e.
Skilled Artisan. Although many seal cutters are known by name from cuneiform texts, including ration lists, as a rule, none can be identified with his work. Thus, the seal cutter (Akkadian: purkullum, Sumerian: burgut) Ilak-nuid, who presumably carved the seal he dedicated as a gift to his personal deity, must have been a particularly important craftsman. The deity on this beautifully engraved cylinder seal is shown interceding, presumably on the seal cutter’s behalf, before the great goddess Ishtar. The inscription on the seal is not reversed, suggesting that this seal was not intended for sealing but rather was a dedicatory object meant to be read directly by the goddess. No other information about Ilak-nuid may be found in any other source.
E. Porada, “Of Professional Seal Cutters and Nonprofessionally Made Seals,” in Seals and Sealing in the Ancient Near East, edited by McGuire Gibson and Robert D. Biggs, Bibliotheca Mesopotamica, 8 (Malibu: Undena Press, 1977), pp. 7-14.