Soapstone Horus Falcon God Statuette 500BC $199.99 - SOLD
Exquisite Ancient Egyptian Pshent-Crowned Green Steatite (Soapstone) Horus Amulet and Faience Mummybead Necklace.
CLASSIFICATION: Ancient Egyptian Hand Carved Steatite Amulet (of Horus).
ATTRIBUTION: Ancient Egypt, 27th Dynasty, Xerxes I (?), 486-466 B.C.
SIZE: 48mm in height, 13mm in depth, 10mm thickness.
WEIGHT: 5.31 grams.
CONDITION: Excellent, faience glaze 45% intact, exceptionally sharp detail preserved. Professionally conserved.
DETAIL: A 2,500 year hand carved turquoise colored steatite (soapstone) Horus statuette/amulet, exceptionally attractive, with sharply incised features, and astonishingly well preserved. Horus was one of the principal deities of the ancient Egyptians, the "Falcon God" who, according to legend, had a hand in the creation of the ancient Egyptian world. The falcon-headed god Horus is depicted standing wearing Horus wearing the pshent crown, the double crown of a united (upper and lower) Egypt. All of the minutely carved details of the statuette, including the feathered torso, are well-defined. The eyes, nostrils, hands, etc., are all distinct. This is a well-detailed and fully featured statuette, certainly not the normal specimen, which often has been reduced to a crudely featured lump by the passage of 2,500 years. The soapstone of which this little fellow is carved, is intact and shows no signs of degradation or weathering.
Amulets depicting a life-like, full-figure with a falcon head are fairly uncommon, as most amulets only depict the "eye of Horus". Those full-figured Horus statuettes which are commonly found are more often than not a falcon headed human figure. This form, a full-figured stylized falcon, is considerably less common. The amulet is constructed of steatite, a soft mineral also known as soapstone, which was then treated with a turquoise colored faience glaze. The amulet is mounted onto a necklace of sequentially-strung, blue-green tubular “mummybeads” also constructed of faience. The tubular faience beads are 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: The amulet is carved soapstone. Faience glazed soapstone was much favored by the ancient Egyptians, who associated the blue-green coloration with the color of the sacred Nile River, giver of life to all of ancient Egypt. Such specimens are generally intricately carved, even to the finer details of the statuettes. Faience amulets and beads 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 lost all or most their glassy faience glaze. Most amulets of this style will retain some of the original turquoise green or blue faience glaze. But those areas no longer covered with faience will show the natural white soapstone substrate material. Oftentimes this will result in a very pleasing mottled blue/green/white color pattern, as if the amulet were of cultured marble. Specimens with all of the faience glaze intact while not rare, are nonetheless the exception, not the rule.
Collectors of such amulets look for three principal attributes. Those are in order of significance, a specimen of undiminished integrity (no significant cracks, chips, or breakage). 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, and this particular style of amulet being hand carved as opposed to mold produced does evidence a wide variety of sizes. Amulets such as these, even though assuredly ancient, were "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 present in the finished 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 specific artifact, Horus, the "Falcon God", was one of the most important gods to the ancient Egyptians. He was a number of distinct deities, the most famous of whom is "Harseisis" (Horus-son-of-Isis). Sometimes referred to as "Horus the Younger", in this role as an infant, he was known as "Harpokrates", and was worshipped as the protector of children. In another manifestation, as the avenger of his father's death, Horus was worshipped as "Harendotes”. In this role Horus was the son of Osiris and Isis, two of ancient Egypt's principle deities. Osiris was murdered and eventually dismembered by his brother, Horus's Uncle, Seth. As the young Horus grew to manhood, he was indoctrinated into the uses of magic by his mother, Isis. It is in this role, the weaver of protective spells and enchantments, that Horus was worshipped by parents anxious to protect their children against evil. In adulthood Horus eventually became the model dutiful son, storied hero of countless battles with his uncle, Seth, and eventually, avenger of his father's death. The basis for the legends of Horus lay in pre-dynastic invaders of Egypt who were followers of a pagan god by the name of "Horus". At this time Horus was venerated as a victorious warlord. Eventually Horus was incorporated into Egypt's state religion and was associated with the sun god, Ra. This most ancient manifestation of the Horus gods was known as Horus the Elder ("Heru-ur).
Not to be confused with Horus, son of Isis and Osiris (Horus-the-Younger), Horus the Elder was the brother of Seth and Osiris (respectively Horus the Younger's uncle and father). Horus the Elder was especially venerated in pre-Dynastic Upper Egypt along with Hathor, his sister. In fact, Horus became so important that Pharaohs were considered his human manifestation, and even took on the name Horus. A passage from the Coffin Texts sums up Horus in his own words: "I am Horus, the great Falcon upon the ramparts of the house of him of the hidden name. My flight has reached the horizon. I have passed by the gods of Nut. I have gone further than the gods of old. Even the most ancient bird could not equal my very first flight. I have removed my place beyond the powers of Seth, the foe of my father Osiris. No other god could do what I have done. I have brought the ways of eternity to the twilight of the morning. I am unique in my flight. My wrath will be turned against the enemy of my father Osiris and I will put him beneath my feet in my name of 'Red Cloak'."
Amulets from ancient Egypt were buried typically for between 2,500 and 3,000 years before being unearthed inside of tombs within the last century or two. Amulets typically are between one-half and two inches in size. Amulets were extremely important to the ancient Egyptians, a focal point of both their life and their belief in the hereafter. Amulets were oftentimes worn about the neck by the ancient Egyptians, typically on a beaded necklace. The beads were most often faience beads, in colors ranging from tan to pale jade green to cobalt blue. Though the material used to string the necklaces disappeared in the eons passed while buried within the tombs of Egypt, the beads themselves survived. Oftentimes these necklaces are restrung on modern filaments, and then offered as a matching set with an amulet which can be worn or displayed with pride.
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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