An Egyptian Steatite Hedgehog Amulet, New Kingdom, ca. 1550 - 1069 BCE
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Throughout the Pharaonic period, the hedgehog was an important motif: its head sometimes appeared at the prow of Old Kingdom funerary boats, and during the Late Period cosmetic containers were made in its rotund shape. Its chief period of popularity as an amulet, however, was the New Kingdom, when it is often portrayed standing characteristically squat, its bristles carefully
delineated and its oval base inscribed so that it can serve as a seal, such as this example that has been pierced longitudinally for attachment.
The hedgehog seems to have had a connotation of rebirth, perhaps suggested by its reappearance after hibernation. It was also a desert creature, surviving outside the fertile valley in inhospitable conditions. As it had conquered the land of death, it was felt to have conquered death itself. Apart from the early stone examples, hedgehog amulets were made almost exclusively of green-glazed faience.
Condition: Some minor surface losses that do not detract, intact and very good condition overall.
Dimensions: Length: 5/8 inch (1.5 cm)
Provenance: Private Maryland collection of a diplomat, acquired while serving in Egypt between 1949 and 1956, and then by descent.
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