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Egyptian Djed Osiris Fertility Amulet 500BC $199.99

For Customers outside of USA

Gorgeous Turquoise Blue Ancient Egyptian "Djed" Amulet ("Backbone of Osiris") and Mummybead Necklace.

CLASSIFICATION: Faience Composition Amulet and Faience Composition Bead Necklace.

ATTRIBUTION: Ancient Egypt, 27th Dynasty, Xerxes I (?), 486-466 B.C.

SIZE: 46mm in length, 17mm in width , 4mm thickness; 75cm faience "mummybead" necklace (30 inches).

WEIGHT: 4.55 grams (amulet only).

CONDITION: Excellent, faience 50% intact, exceptionally sharp detail preserved. Professionally conserved.

This gorgeous faience amulet of the Djed Pillar, is a representation of the supreme ancient Egyptian God Osiris. The Djed Pillar is one of the most widely recognized and ubiquitous symbols of ancient Egypt. The Djed symbolizes stability and strength, and in myth, represented the backbone of Osiris, the great Egyptian God of the Underworld (or the "next" world), one of the most significant deities in the ancient Egyptian pantheon. The amulet is in the form of the hieroglyphic sign that means "enduring" or "stable." The Djed seems to have originated as a pre-dynastic symbol which originally was connected with fertility. In fact the Jewish Passover meal called "Seder" may have originated from the Egyptian "Sed", the oldest festival of Osirian regeneration and fertility. At the Sed, Osiris's masculinity was erected in the form of the Djed column. It was originally merely a simple phallic obelisk. However it eventually evolved into the representation of Osiris's sacrum, the "sacred bone", so called because the backbone was regarded as the source of seminal fluid. It is in this transformation within the Sed Festival from phallic obelisk to sacred backbone that the symbol was absorbed into the Egyptian language as the ideograph for stability.

This particular specimen features an abbreviated hieroglyphic prayer down the lower face of the pillar. Above the vertically arranged hieroglyphs are four horizontal tiers at the top of the amulet, which represent the four pillars of the sky. The amulet is intricately molded, especially with respect to the finer details of the upper tiers and the finely depicted hieroglyphs. The amulet is very well preserved, with no significant chips or cracks. The details of the amulet are very nice, and give this particular style of amulet a very exotic flavor. This exquisitely preserved amulet has been mounted onto a necklace of sequentially-strung, blue-green tubular faience "mummybeads. Tubular faience beads between 15 and 30 millimeters (3/4 - 1 1/4 inches) in length, and about 3 millimeters (1/8th inch) inch in diameter. The disk-shaped beads used as accent separators are considerably older, likely origin before 1,000 B.C. The necklace is 75cm (30 inches) in length; large enough to fit over anyone's head, and is designed to suspend the amulet mid-chest. It is quite an impressive combination, and can be worn with elegance and distinction.

CONSTRUCTION: Faience amulets were produced in ancient Egypt by crushing quartz mixed with copper, which was then made into a paste. The paste was then placed in a mold, and then fired. The quartz would fuse, and the copper would give the resulting product a color with blue and/or green hues, which was favored by the ancient Egyptians as the color of the Nile River. The quartz would "migrate" to the surface of the object, giving it a glassy finish. Given the passage of twenty-five centuries, it is not uncommon for such amulets to have entirely lost their glassy faience glaze. However a substantial percentage of such amulets will possess some remnants of the original turquoise colored glaze, beneath which will be seen the natural sandstone colored faience substrate. A few very fortunate specimens (a very small percentage) will even retain most of the original glaze. Collectors of such amulets look for three principal attributes. Those are in order of significance, a specimen of undiminished integrity (no cracks, chips, or substantial deterioration). Second, good detail in high relief and good definition. Third, the amount of faience glaze remaining intact. Also of significance to many collectors is the size of the specimen.

Commonly with respect to these particular amulets there will be some amount of faience glaze remaining. However often this will be in the deeper recessed detail areas. Ordinarily the high points of the pillar will be mostly or entirely devoid of faience glaze. But from the frontal perspective there is generally the impression of fairly substantial faience glaze. Amulets such as these, even though assuredly ancient, were nonetheless "mass produced" for the populace at large. It is worth noting that the exceptional condition of an artifact often not only takes into account the state of preservation, but oftentimes can also be due to the superior workmanship and artistic qualities of the mold which produced this amulet. The detail and technique present in the finished amulet is a reflection of a skilled artisan of that distant past who left a living testament to his craftsmanship, which still speaks of his pride and abilities over twenty-five centuries later. Conversely, a poorly skilled artisan might produce an amulet which even today may easily be recognized as an inferior product, often not much more than a crudely shaped lump of material, poorly featured with coarse detail.

HISTORY: One of the greatest civilizations of recorded history was ancient Egypt. For a mere hundred dollars or thereabouts, you can possess a small part of that great civilization in the form of a 2,500 year old amulet. These magical talismans are amongst the most sought after and highly collectible artifacts from ancient Egypt. Religion was very important to the ancient Egyptians, and they worshipped many gods. These gods and goddesses often represented the natural world, such as the sky, earth, sun, or wind. The gods took the form of animals or animal/human figures. The ancient Egyptians wore amulets, small representations of these gods, as magical charms to ward off danger. They believed that these amulets, or talismans, would not only protect them in life, but in death as well, and would endow the individual wearing them with magical powers and capabilities.

While religious beliefs in ancient Egypt played a very important role in life, they played an even larger role in death. The ancient Egyptian Book of the Dead prescribed 104 different types of amulets be buried with the mummy in order to protect the deceased on his or her journey into the afterlife. Typically pinned to or wrapped within their burial shroud, it was not uncommon to find even thousands of amulets in the possession of the mummified remains of more prominent members of that ancient civilization. Typically when mummifying the deceased, there could be as many as 80 layers of linen, and it was not unusual to place at least one amulet representation of each of the more significant deities within each layer.

Amulets were made in many sizes and of many materials, including terracotta, wood, stone, bronze, silver, gold, occasionally precious gemstones, but most often of "faience". Faience was the forerunner of modern glass, and was manufactured by the Egyptians as far back as 4000 B.C. Faience is composed of ground quartz and sand together with a coloring agent. Although faience was made in many different colors, most often the coloring agent used was copper ore, which would impart a turquoise blue or turquoise green color. Made into a paste, the mixture of silica and coloring agent(s) it was pressed into molds, and then fired in an oven. When baked, the quartz would migrate as a glaze to the surface of the amulet within the mold. When the mold was opened, the amulet would have a smooth, glassy surface. If colored with copper ore, the resulting product would typically be a shade between deep cobalt blue and pale emerald or jade green. The manufacture of amulets and the application of the magic spells for the benefit of the deceased, were almost always overseen by Egyptian priests.

With respect to this particular form of amulet the ancient Egyptians considered Osiris to be their supreme god and judge of the dead. Osiris was the symbol of resurrection and eternal life, as well as the provider of fertility and prosperity to the living. Osiris was generally depicted as a bearded man wearing white mummy wrappings, the atef crown, and holding the symbols of supreme power, the flail and crook. The white atef crown depicted signifies Upper Egypt. Normally Osiris was also depicted with red feathers, representative of Busiris, Osiris's cult center in the Delta. Osiris's skin was usually represented as either green to represent vegetation, or red to represent the earth. Osiris was, in ancient Egptian mythology, the son of Geb and Nut. Osiris married his sister Isis, and fathered Horus ("Harpokrates the Younger"). Osiris was also the fathered Anubis with his other sister, Nephthys. Osiris was principally worshipped as the Egyptian god of the underworld, although he was also worshipped as a fertility, resurrection, and vegetation god. His sister, Isis, to whom he was married, was considered a sky goddess. His son, whom he fathered with Isis, Horus, was considered the god of sky, and protector of the dead.

According to legend, Osiris was killed by his brother Seth, who shut his body in a chest and threw it into the Nile, where it washed up onto the shores. A large tree enveloped the chest, trapping it inside, and the King of Byblos used the tree as a pillar in his palace. This amulet, of course, is a representation of Osiris as the Pillar of Djed. As Osiris religious cults took hold, it also became known as "the backbone of Osiris". A djed column was often painted on the bottom of coffins, where the backbone of the deceased would lay. This act would identify the deceased with the king of the underworld, Osiris. Djed pillar amulets were placed on the mummy's lower torso, and ensured that the deceased had the permanence and stability of Osiris.during their journey into the afterlife.

Coming back to the legend of Osiris; Isis (who had been searching for her husband) discovered the trunk, and retrieved the trunk and the body. Isis had to locate their son, Horus, and so secreted the trunk. However while Isis was away, Seth, who had original done the dastardly deed, discovered the recovered body. Seth then chopped Osiris's body up into many pieces, and scattered them throughout Egypt. Isis and her sister, Nephthys, found the body pieces and made wax models of them to give to priests to be worshipped. When they found all of his pieces, they were so sad they wailed loudly enough for Ra, the father god, to have pity on them. He sent Anubis and Thoth to help. They mummified Osiris, and put his body in a lion headed pier. Isis changed into a kite and fanned breath into Osiris. Osiris was not allowed to stay in the land of the living, and was sent to the underworld to serve as king, and to judge the souls of the dead.

The oldest religious texts of ancient Egypt thus refer to Osiris as the great god of the dead, and that (by inference) he once possessed human form and lived upon earth. According to these texts, Osiris ruled over a kingdom of new life after death), and was willing to admit all those who had died. The conditions for admission were that the departed had lived a good and correct life upon earth, and had been buried with the appropriate ceremonies under the protection of certain amulets, and with proper recital of certain "divine words" and words of power. The deceased's heart would be weighed against a feather. If the heart was not unduly "weighted down", or burdened by sin, the heart should be no heavier than the feather. If this was the case, the deceased was "awarded" entrance to the afterlife.

The worship of Osiris was prevalent in the most ancient of Egyptian civilization. While proclaiming the supremacy of their local god, Tem or Ra-Tem, priests took care to include in it as many of the ancient provincial gods as possible. Among such gods Osiris held a very prominent place. Osiris was in respect to the dead and the Underworld what Ra, or Ra-Tem was to the living and to this world. In some ancient religious texts some passages Osiris is referred to simply as "God," without the addition of any name. No other god of the Egyptians was ever mentioned or alluded to in this matter, and no other god as any time in Egypt ever occupied exactly the same exalted position, or was thought to possess his peculiar attributes.

These antiquities come from a number of collections which by and large originated here in Eastern Europe. As well, additional specimens are occasionally acquired from other institutions and dealers, principally in Eastern Europe and the Eastern Mediterranean. All of these artifacts are now in the United States and are available for immediate delivery via U.S. Mail. Proceeds of the sales benefit the Southern Urals State Student Association for Archaeological and Anthropological Studies in Russia; providing both postgraduate and undergraduate students with meaningful part-time employment, notebook computers, and both reference and study materials. It also supports other institutions and organizations within Russia involved in the study of anthropology and archaeology. All purchases are backed by an unlimited guarantee of satisfaction and authenticity. If for any reason you are not entirely satisfied with your purchase, you may return it for a complete and immediate refund of your entire purchase price.

SHIPPING: These antiquities come from a number of collections which by and large originated here in Eastern Europe. As well, additional specimens are occasionally acquired from other institutions and dealers, principally in Eastern Europe and the Eastern Mediterranean. All of these artifacts are now in the United States and are available for immediate delivery via U.S. Mail. All purchases are backed by an unlimited guarantee of satisfaction and authenticity. If for any reason you are not entirely satisfied with your purchase, you may return it for a complete and immediate refund of your entire purchase price. A certificate of authenticity (COA) is available upon request.

Our order fulfillment center near Seattle, Washington will ship your purchase within one business day of receipt of your personal check or money order. If you wish to pay electronically, we accept both PayPal and BidPay. However we ask that you PLEASE WAIT before remitting until we have mutually agreed upon method of shipment and shipping charges and you understand our PayPal limitations and policies (stated here). We will ship within one business day of our receipt of your electronic remittance.

A certificate of authenticity (COA) is available upon request. We prefer your personal check or money order over any other form of payment - and we will ship immediately upon receipt of your check (no "holds"). Please see our "ADDITIONAL TERMS OF SALE."