An Egyptian Chalcedony Djed Pilllar, Third Intermediate Period, ca. 1069 - 664 BCE
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A djed-pillar is an amulet in the form of the hieroglyphic sign which means 'enduring', 'stable' and similar concepts. In shape it consists of a tall broad shaft crossed near the top by four short horizontal bars. Originally, it may have represented a stylized tree trunk with the branches lopped off. Certainly, when it first appears in connection with the rites for Sokaris, the funerary god of Memphis, and later for Ptah, the more powerful god of the same area, it was the central feature of the ceremony known as 'the Raising of the Djed'. Since this entailed the setting upright of a huge djed by means of ropes rather in the manner of a maypole, the tree-trunk origin seems highly likely. The possessor of this amulet 'will be a worthy spirit who will be in the realm of the dead on New Year's Day like those who are in the train of Osiris'. This example is hand carved from lapis lazuli, and features an atef crown at the top. It has been horizontally pierced for suspension at the back
Dimensions: Height: 2 cm (0.78 inch)
Condition: Loss to the top and some light surface chips
Provenance: Private Maryland collection of a diplomat, acquired while serving in Egypt between 1949 and 1956, and then by descent.