A rare Egyptian Steatite Sma Amulet, Late Period, ca. 664 - 332 BCE
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The sma (sm3) amulet is shaped with a ribbed shaft and crossbar at the top, and an arrow or squashed heart at the base of the shaft. It represents an animal's lungs and windpipe which as a hieroglyph writes the word for 'unification' and 'unite.' Most commonly carved from dark-colored stone, especially obsidian, it guarantees the wearer a unified corpse in the Other World.
The amulet in the shape of the sm3 or sma- sign represents an animal's lungs and windpipe which as a hieroglyph writes the word for 'unification' and 'unite'. In appearance, it resembles a heart squashed on to a base from which emerges a ribbed shaft with a cross-bar at the top. It is frequently depicted on the sides of the royal throne being tied about with ropes, which end in a papyrus or lily head, knotted tight by the representative gods of Upper and Lower Egypt or the Nile gods of the south and north, the whole scene portraying the unification of the Two Lands. Sma-amulets are exclusive to the Twenty-sixth Dynasty and later, and are made from dark-colored stone, and like the knot-amulet they would guarantee the wearer a unified corpse in the Other World.
Dimensions: Height: 1 inch (2.5 cm)
Condition: Intact and in excellent condition overall. A rare example.
Provenance: Private Maryland collection of a diplomat, acquired while serving in Egypt between 1949 and 1956, and then by descent.