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Mut Anqet Nekhbet Grandmom Goddess Amulet 300BC $249.99


For Customers outside of USA

(Turquoise Blue) Ancient Egyptian Faience Amulet of Mut-Anqet-Nekhbet "Grandmother" Goddess Upper Egypt and Nubia. Mounted onto Faience Tube Bead Necklace.

CLASSIFICATION: Faience Composition Amulet and Faience Composition Bead Necklace.

ATTRIBUTION: Ancient Egypt, Ptolemaic Dynasty, Ptolemy I Soter I (?), 323-285 B.C.

SIZE:

Amulet: 43mm height, 26mm breadth, 8mm thickness.

Faience Tube Beads: 20 to 40 millimeters in length, about 2-3 millimeters in diameter.

Faience Disc Beads: 2-4 millimeters in diameter; 1-2 millimeters in thickness.

Contemporary Chain: 60 centimeter 14kt gold electroplated chain (24 inches).

WEIGHT: 8.24 grams (amulet only).

CONDITION: Excellent, 95% faience glaze intact, exceptionally sharp detail preserved. Professionally conserved.

DETAIL: A 2,300 year old gorgeously colored turquoise blue ancient Egyptian faience amulet depicting the bust of the Goddess Mut. Mut is one of the older deities of Upper Egypt, originally the "mother goddess" of the region. As centuries passed, she gained more prominence, and by the New Kingdom (mid second millennium B.C.) she was absorbing and assimilating many of the attributes of other goddesses - especially of Upper Egypt and Nubia. Two of these other goddesses whose attributes she slowly assimilated were Anqet; "Mistress of the Nile" and Goddess of the banks and islands of the Upper Nile. Mut also absorbed some of the attributes of Nekhbet, a predynastic goddess who originally was protector of Pharaoh, but eventually was worshipped as the protector of pregnant women, young children, and goddess of childbirth. All three goddesses were regarded as goddesses of protection and nourishment.

Mut and Nekhbet shared a common attribute of wearing a vulture headdress; a headdress composed of a vulture with wings outstretched. The vulture was regarding by ancient Egyptians as a symbol of protection and shelter. Imagine a vulture protectively spreading her wings over her chicks, and you have some idea of how the ancient Egyptians regarded the symbolism of a vulture. Though Anqet's attributes did not include a vulture headdress, she was referred to as "she who embraces"; protective and nourishing of not only the Pharaoh, but of the land and people as well. By the New Kingdom the boundaries between many of the older deities became blurred, one assimilating the attributes and qualities of another - even assuming the titles of other deities. This amulet seems to allude to at least three major Goddesses of Upper Egypt and Nubia - the vulture headdress which is so distinct and prominent refers to both Mut and Nekhbet.who had clearly become intermingled with one another by the New Kingdom. The amulet also depicts a very distinct reed headdress atop the vulture headdress.a very clear reference to Anqet who was strongly identified with a reed headdress.

This amulet depicts the bust in profile of a female goddess, we'll call her Mut-Anqet-Nekhbet so as not to shortchange any of these female deities, though the strongest tie would be to Mut and her assimilated alter-egos. The goddess is depicted with a menat, an elaborate heavy beaded collar/necklace of religious significance. The menat was crescent shaped in the front, had a counter piece at the rear, and was regarded as a symbol of rebirth. As earlier described, Mut is also depicted wearing a vulture atop her head. The tail protrudes from behind her head, the head of the vulture rests on Mut's forehead, and the extended wings read all the way down to the neckline, around but not covering Mut's ear.

The features of this particular amulet are very sharply defined and well preserved. The reed headdress is well-detailed. The vulture is exceptionally well detailed and in very sharp relief. All of Mut's profiled features are very distinct, including her ear, eye, nose and lip. Unfortunately these scans really don't portray the extent of the sharply defined detail which exists in hand. So suffice it to simply say that when in hand, you shall see for yourself that all of the details of the amulet remain well defined, and the facial features portray a lot of character. The detail and craftsmanship is excellent, and it is likewise in an exceptional state of preservation. There is some erosion to the faience glaze, evidence of the passage of the millennia, however there is a very high level of detail preserved. Despite the fact that its condition reflects twenty-three centuries of burial, it is a very fine specimen. A very substantial portion of the beautiful turquoise blue faience glaze is intact, quite remarkable for this style of faience amulet.

This exquisitely preserved amulet is mounted onto a contemporary 24-inch 14kt gold electroplated chain together with sequentially mounted blue-green tubular "mummybeads" and disc-shaped beads, both also constructed of faience. The tubular faience beads are between 15 and 40 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. It is quite an impressive combination, and can be worn with elegance and distinction. If you would prefer, it is possible to mount the beads and amulet onto a sterling silver or 14kt gold chain.

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 into an open 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 (more or less), 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 such as the vulture headdress, particularly the wings; the reed crown atop the vulture, some of the facial details, and the perimeter edges of the amulet/bust 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.

Although Mut is perhaps less recognizable today than Isis, in ancient Egypt Mut was regarded as the quintessential predynastic and Old Kingdom "Mother Goddess". Mut was most often depicted wearing the vulture crown because of the link between her name and the name for mother in Egyptian - they were both mwt, and the vulture was the hieroglyph for mw. Reflecting Mut's status as mother goddess, New Kingdom Queens were also often depicted wearing a vulture headdress in their role as Pharaoh's mother. Atop the vulture headdress Mut was also often depicted wearing the double crown of Egypt. The fact she is shown wearing a reed crown here is completely out of her character (as strictly defined) - a reference to Anqet (or Mut-Anqet).

In Southern Africa, the name for an Egyptian vulture is synonymous with the term applied to lovers, for vultures like pigeons are always seen in pairs. As well, mother vulture and child remain closely bonded together. Thus the wide wingspan of a vulture was seen as all encompassing and providing a protective cover to its infants. The vulture when carrying out its role as a mother and giving protection to its infants may exhibit a forceful nature while defending her young. All these qualities inspired the imagination of the Ancient Egyptians. The very word Mut means "mother" and Mut was the great mother goddess of Egypt, even outranking Isis. Often Mut was believed to be a sort of grandmother figure, as Isis was the mother figure for the world. When she started to take over the positions of other goddesses, her name was linked to the older goddess'. The great mother goddess of the New Kingdom, Mut replaced or assimilated many of the Egyptian goddesses. She became a great, all-in-one goddess of the capital city, and her popularity spread.

One of the goddesses who Mut gradually assimilated or became associated with was Nekhbet. Like Mut, Nekhbet was often depicted wearing a vulture crown, and likewise was seen in a protective and nurturing role. Both Mut and Nekhbet were associated with a particular type of vulture - the griffon vulture (Gyps fulvus). It was the griffon vulture that was usually related to the goddesses and to royalty. Originating as did Mut and Anqet in the Upper Egypt of the Old Kingdom, she was originally goddess of a city, "She of Nekhb", named after the town Nekhb (El Kab). However her role enlarged over time to be the protector of the king (especially in infancy) and the mother of his divine nature. Nekhbet's vulture is found on the pharaonic crown, along with the uraeus. In her form representing the king's power, she is shown wearing a white crown and carrying the symbols of life and power in her talons.

Nekhbet was never a popular goddess of the people due to her very close association with rulership and her role as protector of the pharaoh. But she grew to become a major deity of Upper Egypt, a guardian of mothers and children, and one of the nebty (the 'two ladies') of the pharaoh. With the rise of the pharaohs, she became the great goddess of all of Upper Egypt. By the time of the New Kingdom, people started worshiping her as a protector of mothers and children as well as being the goddess of childbirth. Until then, she had strictly been a protector of the pharaoh, specializing in the protection and suckling of both the gods and the pharaohs.

The headdress of papyrus reeds is a reference to yet another Goddess known as "Anqet", who was generally depicted as a woman wearing a tall headdress made either of reeds or of ostrich feathers. Her domain included the banks of the Nile and the islands in the Aswan area, specifically Setet Island (Sehel) and Abu (Elephantine) Island. It is probable that Anqet and her headdress were of Nubian origin. She was a goddess of everything south of the Egyptian border, but she had been worshiped in the region of the upper Nile since the Old Kingdom, as well as throughout northern Nubia. One of her titles was that of "Mistress of Nubia". Anqet's role was a goddess of the waters of the Nile, but as well a goddess of fertility, as well as a protective deity who gave life to the pharaoh and the whole land of Egypt itself in much the same fashion as Nekhbet..

The name "Anqet" meant to surround or embrace, specifically to embrace and nourish the fields by the river. Anqet was linked to the yearly inundation of the Nile and was thus linked to nourishment and fertility. She was often depicted suckling an infant Pharaoh (frequently Ramesses), while being described as the 'Giver of Live, and of All Power, and of All Health, and of All Joy of the Heart'. In much later periods Anqet she became a goddess of lust in much later periods, and was related to things of a very sexual nature. In the later Kingdoms, the distinctions between the various deities became blurred, often times one deity incorporating the attributes of another. Worship of one deity by reference might incorporate a number of deities - the most prominent example being that of Amun-Re. By the new Kingdom given the similarities between Hathor and Anqet, given that Hathor was eventually (and almost entirely) incorporated herself into Isis, it does not come as a great surprise to find that Anqet was assimilated into the identity of Hathor (and thus Isis). Isis and Mut both were regarded as great Mother Goddesses; though oftentimes Mut in a superior role to that of Isis; grandmother Mut, mother Isis.

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.

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