An Egyptian Granite Pesesh-Kef Amulet, Late - Ptolemaic Period, ca. 664 - 30 BCE
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The Opening of the Mouth ceremony carried out on the mummy on the day of burial to restore to the deceased all his earthly faculties and reincorporate the spirit within the body entailed the use of various prescribed ritual implements, among them the distinctly shaped pesesh-kef. This example is characterized by a shaft that is bifurcated at both top and bottom, the top ends bent over themselves suggested by incised lines, and with stylized horizontal markings in the center.
The exact purpose of the pesesh-kef is unknown and the subject of considerable speculation so it is difficult to determine the significance of the amulet. Where details of provenance are known, they seem to have come from burials of women, one a princess of Dynasty 11 and often made of valuable material. The amulets were originally worn on the mummy; one example was found on a cord around a woman's neck.
Andrews, Carol. Amulets of Ancient Egypt Austin: University of Texas Press, (1994) pp. 83-84.
Roth, Ann Macy. "The PsS-kf and the 'Opening of the Mouth' Ceremony: A Ritual of Birth and Rebirth." Journal of Egyptian Archaeology 78 (1992), pp. 113-147.
Roth, Ann Macy. "Fingers, Stars, and the 'Opening of the Mouth': the Nature and Function of the nTrwj-blades." Journal of Egyptian Archaeology 79 (1993), pp. 57-79.
Dimensions: Height: 2.3 cm (0.9 inches)
Condition: Intact and in excellent condition overall
Provenance: Private Maryland collection of a diplomat, acquired while serving in Egypt between 1949 and 1956, and then by descent.