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Egypt CreationGod Ptah Apis Bull Amulet 500BC $199.99


For Customers outside of USA

Gorgeous Turquoise Blue Ancient Egyptian Creator God Ptah (God of Architects, Craftsmen, and Artisans) Apis Bull Amulet and Mummybead Necklace.

CLASSIFICATION: Faience Composition Amulet and Faience Composition Bead Necklace.

ATTRIBUTION: Ancient Egypt, 26th Dynasty, Ahmose II (?), 569-526 B.C.

SIZE: 29mm in length, 27mm in height , 9mm in thickness; 75cm faience "mummybead" necklace (30 inches).

WEIGHT: 6.68 grams (amulet only).

CONDITION: Excellent, faience 25% intact, well preserved. Professionally conserved.

DETAIL: A 2,500 year old gorgeous turquoise colored faience/composition amulet of the ancient Egyptian Creator God, Ptah, in his manifestation as the sacred Apis Bull. According to legend, Ptah was responsible for creating the universe and all that inhabited it, including the pantheon of Egyptian deities. Ptah was also the god of architects, craftsmen, and artisans of all descriptions, and was especially significant in the worker's village of Deir-el-Medina. Ptah could manifest himself as a sacred bull, the Apis Bull, which was considered a sacred oracle, worshipped, and eventually mummified and buried with all the pomp and circumstance of a Pharaoh. This amulet is a reference to this manifestation of Ptah. As ancient Egyptian theology evolved (over thousands of years), the Apis Bull came to represent Osiris moreso than Ptah. Both Ptah and Osiris were gods of the underworld. For a time the Apis Bull represented Ptah's soul during its lifetime; but then after death was reincarnated as Osiris. Eventually the Apis Bull came to refer virtually exclusively to Osiris, as the Ptah deity was absorbed into that of Osiris. But the origin of the Apis Bull is with certainly, Ptah. The amulet here is clearly that of a bull, with all of the connotations of strength, masculinity, fearlessness, and virility.

The amulet is very distinctive and handsome, and exceptionally well preserved amulet. It is certainly not the normal specimen, which often has been reduced to a crudely featured lump by the passage of millennia. The amulet has survived over 2,500 years of burial without cosmetically significant chips, breaks, or cracks; the amulet is in very good condition. 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: Faience amulets were produced in ancient Egypt by crushing quartz mixed with a coloring agent, typically copper ore, 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 faience 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.

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 open back 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 removed from the mold, 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 specific reference to this particular amulet, Ptah was the chief god of the ancient city of Memphis. The Egyptians believed that he was a creator god who brought all things to being by thinking of them with his mind and saying their names with his tongue. He created everything from the world egg (from which matter was conceived) to the other deities themselves. Ptah was even occasionally attributed as a fertility god, and the Apis Bull certainly represented masculine virility, just as a cow represented female fertility. Ptah represents the sun at the time when it begins to rise above the horizon and or right after it has risen. Ptah was believed to help the dead on their travels through the afterlife by building the boats on which they could travel. In the Book of the Dead he is described as a master architect, and responsible for building the framework of the universe. It was said that Ptah created the great metal plate that was the floor of heaven and the roof of the sky. He also constructed the supports that held it up. Other versions of the myths state that he worked under Thoth's orders, creating the heavens and the earth according to Thoth's specifications. In either event, Ptah was as a creator god the third highest god in Egypt, the deity who crafted the universe and the other deities; Ptah was only overshadowed by the sun god Ra, and the hidden god Amen. And it was natural that Ptah became the patron god and protector of the arts, stonecutters, sculptors, blacksmiths, architects, boat builders, artists and craftsmen. Ptah was part of a holy triad in Memphis. His wife was the lioness-goddess Sekhmet, and his sons were said to be Nefertem, and then later Imhotep.

Among the most important animal cults in ancient Egypt were the bull cults, which appeared in Egyptian writings as far back as the First Dynasty. The ancients believed that the powerful bull represented the personality of the king because it symbolized the king's courageous heart, great strength, virility, and fighting spirit. The Apis bull cult is probably the best known of these, and it is considered to be the most sacred. According to Herodotus, "the Egyptian belief is that a flash of lightning descends upon the cow from heaven, and this causes her to receive Apis." While it was still alive, the Apis bull was seen as the Ba of Ptah. The "Ba" was a portion of the soul which took the form of a headed bird which around in the tomb during the day bringing air and food to the deceased. When the bull was dead, it was believed to be reincarnated as Osiris. At the beginning of Dynastic history, the bull was identified exclusively with Ptah. But by the time of the Ptolemaic Dynasties, the Apis bull was identified almost exclusively with Osiris; and was eventually given a new Greco-Roman identity, that of Serapis.

Priests of the bull cults identified a sacred bull by its very specific markings. An Apis calf could be identified by certain distinct markings: the black calf had a white diamond on its forehead, an image of an eagle on its back, double the number of hairs on its tail, and a scarab mark under its tongue. Once the bull was proclaimed to be a god incarnate, it was taken to the temple compound where it was purified, stabled in majestic quarters, fed the best foods, and given a herd of the finest cows. Priest derived omens from observing the bull's behavior, the bull was an oracle. The bull was not allowed to live past 25 years and upon reaching this age it was secretly drowned and a new bull was sought. Only one bull was considered to be the sacred Apis at a time; a replacement could be sought only upon the death of the bull. The new Apis was transported to Memphis on a boat with a specially built golden cabin.

When an Apis bull died, the body was embalmed and entombed with the great ceremony that would be afforded royalty. A Memphis temple ("Serapeum" - a catacomb complex preceded by an avenue of sphinxes) housing large alabaster slabs was the place in which the bulls were embalmed. After preparation of the body and internal organs, the crouching bull was intricately bandaged, artificial eyes were inserted, its horns and face were either gilded or covered with a gold leaf mask, and it was covered with a shroud. The Apis mummy was then buried in a massive stone sarcophagus weighing over 60 tons. Along with the remains of almost 70 Apis bulls, the remains of a high priest as well have been discovered within the Serapieum, a son of Ramesses II, Prince Khaemwese. From the Memphite Theology Ptah was desribed as, "He who made all and created the gods. He is Ta-tenen, who gave birth to the gods, and from whom every thing came forth, foods, provisions, divine offerings, all good things. Thus it is recognized and understood that he is the mightiest of the gods. Thus Ptah was satisfied after he had made all things and all divine words."

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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