Ancient Egypt, Third Intermediate Period, 21st to 25th Dynasty, ca. 1070 to 664 BCE. An attractive amulet of a miniature size, hand-carved from mottled espresso-brown hematite, in the form of a petite headrest. The wide neck tapers from the top of the rectangular body and is surmounted by a crescent-shaped 'pillow.' An adorable example of miniature Egyptian funerary tradition with an incredibly smooth surface texture. Size: 0.875" W x 0.625" H (2.2 cm x 1.6 cm).
The Egyptians normally slept on their sides and the curved upper section held the head above the bed. At their most prosaic, the headrests were frequently buried with the mummy providing a place to rest the deceased's head and were found inside the coffin. But also, the importance of having the head elevated was integral with their religious practices as it was intended to aid in resurrection mimicking the sun god rising above the horizon and playing a part in the "Opening of the Mouth" ceremony described in the "Book of the Dead," or the "Book of Going Forth by Day." Near-miniature amulet examples like this were meant as an offering for the deceased to take with them into the afterlife.
For a stylistically-similar example, please see The Museum of Fine Arts, Budapest, inventory number 52.965: https://www.mfab.hu/artworks/headrest-amulet-3/
Provenance: ex-private Elias collection, California, USA, acquired in Santa Fe, NM
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