This article addresses the visual culture of the Neolithic Near East, in particular that found on seals and sealings, objects often associated with information storage and administration. It considers the connection between those images and a broader Neolithic cosmology and, finally, the ways that both changed as cities replaced villages. The evidence is a set of imagery carved on small, portable objects such as palettes and seals, as well as their impressions on clay. By and large, seals have been studied as administrative and economic tools, part of a developing system of record-keeping in the millennia preceding the first writing. Their imagery, however, reveals elements of a basic cosmology, suggesting a religious context and meaning that precedes evidence of their use in administrative contexts. I posit that a) there are recurring motifs in the visual culture of the Neolithic Near East; and b) the subject matter of these motifs relates to religious beliefs and practices. I argue that to fully understand early seal use, we must proceed historically rather than ahistorically, first considering the primary association between these objects and cosmological concerns, and then broaden interpretations of later seal use, archive systems and ultimately writing, to consider how the content or meaning of the glyptic imagery may relate to those contexts.