An Egyptian Faience Amulet of a Recumbent Lion, Ptolemaic Period, ca. 332 - 30 BCE
Symbolizing ferocity and regenerative power and 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.
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