A large Egyptian Faience Wedjet Eye, 26th Dynasty, ca. 664 525 BCE
EA2115Regular price $3,750 USD
This large striking amulet of bright blue faience depicts a highly detailed wedjat eye. Convex in form, careful attention has been paid to the rendering of the cosmetic lines, especially the cross-hatch extension. The back of the amulet is flat and undecorated and is pierced horizontally for attachment.
Wadjet eye amulets were among the most popular amulets of ancient Egypt. The Wadjet eye represents the healed eye of the god Horus and embodies healing power as well as regeneration and protection in general. It was thought to help the dead pass safely into the afterlife, and wedjat eye amulets were commonly placed within mummy wrappings to help the deceased. In one myth, Horus uses the power of his healed eye (repaired by the god of wisdom, Thoth) to revive his deceased father, the lord of the netherworld, Osiris, and therefore came to symbolize the general process of "making whole" and healing.
Andrews, Carol, 1994. Amulets of Ancient Egypt. Austin: University of Texas. 43-4.
Bianchi, R., 1998. “Symbols and Meanings.” In Gifts of the Nile: Ancient Egyptian Faience, edited by Florence Dunn Friedman. Cleveland: Thames and Hudson. 22-31.
Petrie, William Flinders, 1914. Amulets: Illustrated by the Egyptian Collection In University College, London. London: Constable & Company, Ltd. 32-4.
Pinch, Geraldine, 1994. Magic in Ancient Egypt. Texas: University of Texas. 104-119.
Condition: Very minor chip to proper left upper corner, otherwise excellent condition.
Dimensions: Height: 1 1/2 Inches (3.5 cm)
Provenance: Private Virginia collection, acquired Royal Athena Gallery, NYC, August 2014, JME private collection, NY, acquired Bonhams, London, Dec 1993.
An Egyptian Faience Amulet of a Recumbent Lion, Ptolemaic Period, ca. 332 - 30 BCE
EA2118Regular price $4,500 USD
With exceptional detail, a very fine pale turquoise glazed faience amulet in the form of a recumbent lion, on an integrated base, the front paws outstretched, the tail curling around the right haunch, a loop for attachment at the top.
Throughout Egyptian history, the lion played an important role in religious beliefs and was represented in Egyptian art since the earliest periods. As the lion was regarded as the mightily changing aspect of the sun, the funerary bier was quite often in the guise of a lion bed; a place of resting and rejuvenation for the returning sun. The lion is also depicted on the astronomical ceiling of the tomb of Seti 1, as a guardian within the place of eternity, and was one of the apotropaic gods. In Persian times, the lion was venerated as the god Mahes assimilated to Nefertem. The hoop on the spine for suspension recalls a protective spell against snakes when it is sewn on red linen. Overall, this lion amulet guaranteed its owner not only the animal's strength and courage but also its regenerative powers.
Dimensions: Height: 4 cm (1.57 inches)
Condition: Very minor chip to the left ear, very small loss to the right corner of base restored, neither of which detract, overall intact and in excellent condition.
Provenance: Ex. Charles Gillot Collection (1853 - 1903), France, thereafter a private Virginia collection, acquired in 2015.
Published: Christie's Paris, March 4-5 2008, lot 123; and Christie's London, October 7, 2010, lot 323.
An Egyptian Red Jasper Sun Disc Amulet, Late Period, ca. 664 - 332 BCE
EA2123Regular price $650 USD
Akhet sun-on-horizon amulets, such as this example, represent the two hills of the eastern horizon with the sun rising between them. Characteristic of the twenty-sixth dynasty and later, this amulet links the deceased with rebirth in the company of the newly risen sun. This example is finely carved from matte red jasper, and features a sun disc rising above a plinth with an inverted top edge.
For a similar example, see: Carol Andrews, Amulets of Ancient Egypt (London, 1994), p. 88, no. 90e.
Dimensions: Length: 3/4 inch (2 cm)
Condition: Intact and in excellent condition overall. A rare and fine example.
Provenance: Private collection of Geoffrey Metz, Egyptologist, Sweden, acquired from the trade in the 1990s. Metz catalog number M1012.
An Egyptian Obsidian Two Finger Amulet, Late Period, ca 664 - 332 BCE
EA2120Regular price $1,950 USD
This realistically rendered 'two-finger' amulet shows the index and middle fingers, with the nails and joint creased clearly indicated on the front. These amulets were placed on the mummy near the incision where the internal organs were removed before embalming. This suggests the amulet was intended to reaffirm the embalming process; the fingers representing those of Anubis, the god of embalming. However, the amulet could also have been intended to 'hold' the incision sealed, to prevent malign forces from entering the body, like the plaques sometimes placed over the wound.
The use of amulets played a very large part in ancient Egyptian religion. They were generally made of various materials including stone and were believed to transfer magical properties to the wearer. The amulets from ancient Egypt can be divided by type. These different types of amulets had different purposes in protecting the deceased. They were usually placed on specific areas of the body to help achieve their intended purpose. 'Two-finger' amulets were mostly made of a dark hard stone such as basalt, obsidian (volcanic glass) such as this example, or steatite. Black was associated with the Underworld. Black stones were often used to make statues of Osiris and for sarcophagi and other objects which were to be placed inside tombs. The hardness of the stones was symbolic of endurance. Amulets were made of such materials to ensure that their magical powers lasted for all eternity. This is consistent with both interpretations of the function of the 'two-finger' amulet, as it was important that the body remained intact for all eternity, so the deceased could enjoy the Afterlife.
Of the different types of amulet placed on the mummy, the 'two-finger' amulet was a late arrival, first evident only after around 600 BC.
See: C.A.R. Andrews, Amulets of Ancient Egypt (London, The British Museum Press, 1994)
G. Pinch, Magic in Ancient Egypt (London, The British Museum Press, 1994)
Dimensions: Height: 1 1/8 inches (2.8 cm)
Condition: A loss to the back surface and some minor chipping to the back edges but overall intact and in very good condition.
Provenance: Private collection of Egyptologist Geoffrey Metz, Sweden with Metz catalog number M238 in white pigment on the back.
An Egyptian Faience Frog Amulet, New Kingdom, ca. 1550 - 1069 BCE
EA2119Regular price $1,500 USD
This truly charming little fellow is made from bright blue glazed faience, and sits on an integral base, crouching upright on bent legs with two arms in front, the back pierced for attachment.
With its prolific breeding habits, the frog symbolized fecundity for the living, particularly for women. In addition, the Egyptians believed the frog had spontaneous generation and was self-creating. During the New Kingdom, a frog was sometimes used to write 'repeating life,' a term used after the name of the deceased that symbolized the promise of rebirth.
Dimensions: Height: 1/2 inch (1.3 cm)
Condition: Intact and in very good condition overall
Provenance: Nefer Ancient Art, London, before 1983, thereafter private Virginia collection, acquired from the trade in 2020.
An Egyptian Superb Azure Blue Glazed Wadj Amulet, Third Intermediate Period, Dynasty 21, ca. 1069 - 945 BCE
EA2117Regular price $2,500 USD
Known in Egyptian as a wadj, this papyrus-column amulet is made from faience with a superb bright blue/green glaze, and has a pierced suspension ring at the top. Green fresh plant life represented youthfulness, new life and rebirth to the Egyptians, and the presence of this particular amulet on the body was to ensure that the deceased remained forever young, and was not injured. Both Chapters 159 and 160 concern a papyrus column of feldspar to be placed at the throat of the deceased: 'If it is sound, I am healthy; if it is undamaged, I am uninjured; if it is not struck, I am unwounded . .. my limbs shall not become dried out.'
A papyrus scepter was often carried by goddesses and the plant was the emblem of Lower Egypt and its patroness Wadjyt; hence its amuletic form not only guaranteed the wearer rejuvenation, it also linked them with the divine and in particular one of the great protective goddesses.
Condition: Professionally rejoined from two pieces, the amulet is complete and in very good condition overall. Superb bright blue glaze.
Dimensions: Height: 2 3/4 inches (6.9 cm)
Provenance: Private Virginia collection, acquired from Royal Athena Gallery, NYC, 2014, JME collection, NY, acquired Bonhams, London, Dec 1993, previously a private English collection, acquired in the 1930s.
An Old Babylonian Cylinder Seal, ca. 2000 - 1600 BCE
MM2104Regular price $1,500 USD
Condition: Intact and in very good condition overall.
Dimensions: Height: 0.64 inches (1.63 cm)
Provenance: Collection of Mr. and Mrs. Robert Feuer, NY., acquired 1970s - 1980s, thereafter private Virginia collection.
A Published Egyptian Glass Heart Amulet, New Kingdom, 18th - 19th Dynasty, ca. 1350 - 1250 BCE
EA2061Regular price $2,750 USD
Core-formed the body in dark blue, with turquoise marvered threads, pierced for attachment.
Published: Christie's, London, Ancient Egyptian Glass and Faience from the 'Per-neb' Collection, Part III, 8 December 1993, lot 234.
Dimensions: Height: 1.3 cm (0.5 inches)
Condition: Body still with bright, shiny surface, some pitting to the body and loss to the rim otherwise intact and in very good condition overall.
Provenance: Private collection, Switzerland, acquired between the 1920s to early 1940s, thereafter Jacobs collection, Switzerland.
An Egyptian Faience Amulet of Anubis, Late Period, ca. 664 - 332 BCE
EJ2113Regular price $550 USD
Anubis was an Egyptian god of embalming who protected the dead, consequently, his image is most often associated with the deceased and tombs. In Egyptian mythology, it was Anubis who wrapped the deceased body of Osiris and who guards the necropolis. He is represented as a jackal-like dog or a man with a dog head, perhaps stemming from the ancient Egyptian’s fear of dogs dismembering or consuming corpses.
Condition: Intact and in excellent condition overall. Mounted as a pendant on a 14K gold chain that can be adjusted up to 22 inches (56 cm).
Dimensions: Amulet height: 1/2 inch (1.33 cm)
Provenance: Private Philadelphia collection, acquired in the 1920s and then by descent.
An Egyptian Faience Wedjat Eye Amulet, Late Period, ca. 664 - 332 BCE
EA2112Regular price $650 USD
Condition: Intact and in very good condition overall, mounted as a pendant on a modern 18K white gold chain.
Dimensions: Length: 5/8 inch (2 cm), mounted for wearing on a modern 18K white gold chain that is adjustable up to 18 inchew (46 cm).
Provenance: Private collection of Henry Wallis RWS (1830-1916), a British Pre-Raphaelite painter, writer, and collector.
A Roman Carnelian Intaglio of Victory Crowning Fortuna, Roman Imperial Period, ca. 2nd century CE
RA1604Regular price $1,200 USD
Carved from translucent carnelian, a winged Victoria holding a laurel wreath floating before Fortuna who wears a kalathos on her head, holding a cornucopia in her right hand and a rudder in her left, standing on a groundline.
A common motif in Imperial intaglios, Victoria crowning Fortuna can be traced back to at least the second century BCE where it was struck on a Greek-influenced Parthian coin. This imagery was particularly popular with Roman emperors, generals, and politicians who looked to propagandize their successes through the goddesses of victory and fortune. While both goddesses were important parts of the Roman pantheon (Agustus himself made them cornerstones in the ethos of his power), Victoria was particularly popular with the army, leading them to conquest over their enemies, land, and death. It is thus logical that she is crowning Fortuna rather than the other way around; Victory rewards those who display virtus (or strength of character, to which Fortuna was closely tied). Connotating valor, courage, temperance, and masculinity, virtus was one of the most highly prized virtues in Rome, and those who did not possess it were in danger of inviting ill-fortune upon themselves and more importantly upon Rome.
Dimensions: Length: 5/8 inch (1.5 cm)
Condition: With extremely minor chips around the edge that do not detract, overall intact and in very good condition.
Provenance: Private DC collection, acquired in the 1970s.
A tiny Sasanian Dome Seal of a Scorpion, ca. 3rd - 7th century CE
MA2104Regular price $350 USD
Hand-carved from agate, the perfectly rounded form with a flat face featuring a scorpion in right profile with a raised tail and extended pincers, pierced longitudinally for attachment.
Almost all scorpions have been interpreted in a benevolent context in Sasanian seals. When paired with a profile bust or personal device it shows good fortune. It also appears with other animals, plants, and objects of nature, indicating scorpions functioned as "auspicious earth symbols," rather than a malevolent or evil symbol that we associate with today.
Ref: Brunner, Christopher J., Sasanian Stamp Seals in The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art (1978), p 113, nos. 86, 217.
Dimensions: Length: 1 cm (0.39 inches)
Condition: Intact and in very condition overall.
Provenance: Alex Malloy collection, acquired in the 1980s.
An Egyptian Faience Bes Amulet, Late Period, ca. 664 - 332 BCE
EA2104Regular price $395 USD
Carved in deep blue-green faience, the protector god portrayed as a nude dwarf on an integrated base. His large feather crown surmounting grotesque facial features, with protruding tongue and the ears and mane of a lion, with bandy legs and hands hanging on either side of his protruding belly, standing on a plinth with a back pillar.
Background: This dwarf-like, protective deity was very popular in ancient Egypt. Known as early as the Middle Kingdom (ca. 2000 BC), Bes was venerated as a protector of the home, family, and childbirth, and for that reason figures prominently in domestic magic and amulets. His close connection to all aspects of fertility and sexuality is demonstrated by the presence of his image in the "Birth-houses", shrines associated with temples of the Late and Greco-Roman periods. He also had a special relation to the goddess Hathor and performed in her retinue as a musician and dancer.
Dimensions: Length: 2.3 cm (0.90 inches)
Condition: With a loss to the base, otherwise in very good condition overall.
Provenance: Ex Dr Joseph Touma, Virginia, acquired from Christie's in 1993.
An Egyptian Green stone Heart Scarab, Late Period, ca 664 - 332 BCE
EA2101Regular price $3,950 USD
The scarab’s association with the daily rebirth of the young sun god, Khepri, gave the beetle a prominent role in funerary contexts. In this example, the body conforms to the usual scarabaeus sacer; the eyes and head are deeply carved on the five notched shield (clypeus). The first segment of the upper body (prothorax) and wings (elytrae) are separated by incised lines, the legs (tibiae) to the side, are tucked underneath the body. As is to be expected, this heart scarab has no borehole and is uninscribed on the base.
Background: The heart scarab, which first appears in Dynasty XIII, played an important role in the funerary accessories of the deceased. Not only was it the medium for magical text, it was also a symbol of self-generation and rebirth. It provided the deceased wearer with the assurance that at the final judgment he would be found "true of voice" and accepted into the eternal afterlife under the rule of the god Osiris.
Many heart scarabs bear part or all of what is known as Chapter 30B from the Book of the Dead; a prayer to the heart of Isis, who was the mother of the deceased, not to bear false witness against the deceased when he is being judged before Osiris. The Book of the Dead also instructs that the heart scarab be made of the nemhef-stone, which has been identified as green jasper, serpentine, or basalt, and be set in a gold chase suspended from the neck. It appears the stone was chosen not only for its greenish color, which symbolized life, health, and regeneration but also for its weight. The heart could not weigh more than the feather of Maat, so a heart scarab of just the right heft would work in favor of the deceased.
References: Andrews, Carol, 1994. Amulets of Ancient Egypt, chapter 4: Scarabs for the living and funerary scarabs, pp 50-59, Andrews, Carol, c 1993, University of Texas Press.
cf: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, Accession Number 15.3.217.
Condition: One small chip to top right, otherwise intact and in excellent condition overall.
Dimensions: Length: 4.5 cm (1 3/4 inches)
Provenance: Private Australian collection, acquired from the London trade in 1998.
A Pre-Columbian Gold Figural Pendant, Calima, Colombia, ca. 800 - 1000 CE
PJ2103Regular price $3,000 USD
A fabulous cast figural gold pendant in the form of a human head, the two hands each holding a crescentic implement. Mounted as a pendant on a 14K gold chain.
Goldworking in the Calima area of Colombia reached its apogee in the so-called Yotoco period-from the 3rd to the 10th centuries CE, a time of great population expansion whereby complex and handsome attire, dominated by a great quantity of gold - diadems, nose and ear ornaments, pectorals, bracelets, and large anklets - became popular.
Condition: One ear circlet missing, with minor losses along the top and crescent implements that do not detract, intact and in very good condition overall with much of the original casting core remaining on the rear.
Dimensions: Pendant Height: 2 inches (5 cm), Overall drop length: 12 inches (30.5 cm)
Provenance: Private Florida collection, acquired in the 1960s, thereafter private NY collection, acquired from Merrin Gallery, NYC.
An Egyptian Faience Uraeus Amulet, 21st Dynasty, ca. 1069 - 945 BCE
EJ2101Regular price $1,750 USD
Deep green glazed faience openwork amulet of a uraeus, the great coil of the body arching up behind to the height of the head, pierced vertically for attachment.
Background: From the earliest dynasties the upreared cobra, the uraeus, was the emblem of royalty, worn on the pharaoh's forehead to signify his kingship and divinity. As a goddess she was the eye of the sun, spitting fire at the king's enemies. The uraeus was among the amulets depicted in both the MacGregor papyrus and the Osiris complex at Dendera. Usually, more than one was placed on the mummy, sometimes at the forehead or even over the feet, but most often on the torso. The uraeus, which as an amulet was intended to provide the non-royal dead with the protection usually reserved for royalty, but which, because of the sloughing of its skin also symbolized resurrection, exists in two basic forms from the twenty-sixth dynasty onwards. In both the fully puffed-up hood is carefully detailed; in the commoner type, a great coil of the body arches up behind to the same height as the head (as is the case on our amulet) and has a suspension loop on top of it. In the other form, only the tip of the tail appears to one side of the base of the hood which lies against a back pillar pierced for suspension.
See Carol Andrews, Amulets of Ancient Egypt (London, British Museum Press, 1994), p. 34-35 and especially p. 75-76 and fig. 76b.
Condition: The amulet is intact and in excellent condition overall.
Dimensions: Amulet height: 3/4 inch (2 cm), set as a pendant 20-inch chain of 14K gold
Provenance: Private collection of Dr. Joseph Touma, VA, acquired from Christie's, April 28, 1993, Lot 67 (part).
An Egyptian Green Glazed Faience Scarab, Amarna Period, ca. 1353 - 1336 BCE
EJ1924Regular price $2,500 USD
Condition: Intact and in very condition overall.
Dimensions: US ring size 6.5. Can be resized.
Provenance: Private Boston collection acquired in the 1950s, thereafter private Virginia collection since 2009.
An Egyptian Glazed Steatite Scarab, New Kingdom, ca. 1550 - 1069 BCE
EA2072Regular price $750 USD
On the underside of this scarab, an incised design depicts a striding lion wearing a royal headdress, who meets face-to-face with a uraeus (royal cobra), a royal sun disc above, symbolizing the king and his superhuman power. This object probably served as a magical amulet to invoke the power and protection of both the king and the sacred beetle.
Because this amulet is pierced longitudinally and has a pronounced rounded terminal, it could at one time been mounted in a setting with a pivoting bezel held by a long wire or cord wrapped around the hoop allowing the beetle to rotate, a common and popular Egyptian style of finger-ring. Some scarab finger-rings on swiveling bevels bore names and titles of officials to serve practically as administrative seals, and other iterations feature various geometric designs, hieroglyphs, or figures with more symbolic meanings. While most amulets were found in burials and probably manufactured expressly for the dead, they were also known to be worn by the living for their protective and symbolic significance.
cf: Mary Ann Pouls, "Scarab Seal" in Searching for Ancient Egypt: Art, Architecture, and Artifacts from the University of Pennsylvania Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology, David P. Silverman, ed., (Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 1997), cat. 57, 195.
Carol Andrews, Ancient Egyptian Jewelry, (New York: Harry N. Abrams, Inc. Publishers 1990), 163-64.
Daphna Ben-Tor, The Scarab: A Reflection of Ancient Egypt, (Jerusalem: The Israel Museum 1989), 26-32.
David O'Connor, "The Chronology of Scarabs of the Middle Kingdom and the Second Intermediate Period," in The Journal of The Society for the Study of Egyptian Antiquities, Volume XV No. 1, (Toronto: Benben Publications, January 1985), 1-41.
Condition: Some wear to the glaze on the top but otherwise intact and in excellent condition overall.
Dimensions: Length: 3/4 inch (2 cm)
Provenance: Hansen private collection, Wisconsin acquired from Susette Khayat, New York, 1955-58.
An Egyptian Glazed Steatite Cylinder Seal for King Amenemhat II, 12th Dynasty, ca. 1914-1879/76 BCE
EA2069Regular price $3,950 USD
carved from steatite, with traces of the original glaze remaining, particularly around the inscription that reads: "Nubkaure [Amenemhat II, 12th Dynasty] beloved of Sobek of Sumenu". Sumenu was the cult center of Sobek, the crocodile god of Upper Egypt, and a little south of Luxor. Cylinder seals of 12th Dynasty kings naming them and Sobek (sometimes Sobek of Sumenu, sometimes of Shedyt) are well attested.
Background: Amenemhet II, was the grandson of Amenemhet I (founder of the 12th dynasty [1938–c. 1756 BCE]). He furthered Egypt’s trade relations and internal development. While he was coregent with his father, Sesostris I, Amenemhet led a gold-mining expedition to Nubia. Later, during his own reign, more expeditions went to Nubia and Sinai for gold and copper; a new mine shaft was opened in Sinai; and a trade venture was made to Punt (probably located on the African coast south of modern Ethiopia). Statues of Amenemhet have been found at several Syrian cities, and treasure of his reign discovered in a temple at Ṭawd, a town in Upper Egypt, contains gold and silver vessels of Cretan origin as well as cylinder seals from Mesopotamia, verifying foreign contacts. Within Egypt, the provincial governors continued to play key administrative roles, and fine tombs were provided for them near their hometowns. Amenemhet’s pyramid tomb, built at Dahshūr, south of Memphis, was patterned after his father’s, with a fine limestone casing built over mud-brick retaining walls and a rubble core. Near it was found the jewelry belonging to a daughter of Amenemhet, revealing the artistic heights of his reign.
cf: Petrie, W.M.F. "Scarabs and Cylinders with Names" London, 1917 page XIII, 12.3.9-11
Condition: Much of the original glazed surface lost, but still remains in the incision, otherwise intact and in very good condition overall.
Dimensions: Height: 7/8 inches (2.2 cm)
Provenance: Private collection of M. Hansen, Wisconsin, acquired from Susette Khayat, New York, 1955-58.