An Egyptian Glazed Steatite Cylinder Seal for King Amenemhat II, 12th Dynasty, ca. 1914-1879/76 BCE
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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.
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