Ancient Egypt, Third Intermediate Period to Late Dynastic Period, ca. 1070 to 332 BCE. A beautifully preserved faience amulet in the form of an ibis, with the seated goddess Maat and her distinctive ostrich feather in front of the bird's beak. A loop on the bird's back allows the piece to be worn. A splash of deep navy blue faience pigment colors the bird's tail feathers. Maat was the goddess of truth and justice, embodying the organizing forces of the stars, seasons, and deities who brought creation from chaos. Size: 2.25" W x 1.85" H (5.7 cm x 4.7 cm)
The ibis, an elegant, long-legged wading bird that lives along the shores of the Nile, was associated with the god Thoth. He was the god of wisdom and writing, and in worship to him many thousands of ibises were ritually sacrificed, embalmed, and mummified before being buried in underground galleries. Thousands of these burials have been excavated at Sakkara, near Memphis, Egypt's ancient capital. This amulet may have been bought by a pilgrim visiting Sakkara.
Provenance: private East Coast, USA collection; ex-Richard Wagner collection, Cape Cod, Massachusetts, USA, collected in the 1960s
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