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Tauret Hippo Goddess Pregnancy Amulet 500BC $229.99


For Customers outside of USA

Gorgeous Olive Green Faience Ancient Egyptian Amulet of Tauret, the Hippopotamus Goddess of Pregnancy and Childbirth Amulet and Tubular Faience Bead ("Mummybead") Necklace.

CLASSIFICATION: Faience Composition Amulet and Faience Composition Bead Necklace.

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

SIZE: 41mm height, 11mm breadth, 11mm thickness; 75cm faience "mummybead" necklace (30 inches).

WEIGHT: 4.22 grams (amulet only).

CONDITION: Excellent, 90% faience glaze intact, exceptionally sharp detail preserved. Professionally conserved.

DETAIL: A 2,500 year old ancient Egyptian faience amulet depicting the Goddess Tauret. Tauret was the hippopotamus goddess who protected pregnant women, women in childbirth, and even young children with the same ferocity a female hippopotamus protects her own offspring in the wild. Wife of the Egyptian God Bes, the dwarf god who was also a protector of women in childbirth, Tauret was usually depicted as pregnant female hippopotamus with huge pendulous human breasts, the hind legs and mane of a lion, and the tail of a crocodile. This marvelous amulet depicts just this form, as you can clearly see, faithfully depicting even the swollen breasts and swollen (pregnant) midsection. Tauret is also depicted wearing the "Crown of Hathor", horns within which is a solar disc. She is depicted with braided hair, and appears to be holding some sort of symbol in each hand - which would be consistent with her normal depictions.

This is an intricate and marvelously detailed amulet, very much superior to the ordinary. It has survived the passage of almost twenty-five centuries without cosmetically or structurally significant chips, breaks, or cracks; the amulet is in truly magnificent condition. The faience glaze is virtually entirely intact, but it is a bit on the olive side as it is showing through a layer of burial accretions which simply cannot be safely removed. So rather than bright green, the faience glaze is a little murky as it shows through the layer of brownish accretions. 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 mostly in the deeper recessed detail areas. Ordinarily the high points of the face, feet, and stomach will be mostly or entirely devoid of faience glaze. This will vary from one specimen to another of course, but from the frontal perspective there is generally the impression of fairly substantial faience glaze. The color of the faience common to this style of amulet varies widely from a pale lime green, through turquoise blue and green, and all the way through to such a dark khaki green that the appearance is of black faience. Generally the detail level present on this style of amulet will be fairly intricate. Typically the facial features and the details of the crown/headdress are easily distinguishable and sharply defined.

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, Predynastic in origin, Tauret was portrayed as a pregnant female hippopotamus with huge pendulous human breasts, the hind legs and mane of a lion, and the tail of a crocodile. She is shown standing on her hind legs and leaning on the symbol for "protection" and holding an ankh. Tauret was a domestic deity that was greatly revered. Her most common role was as a protectress of pregnant women and goddess of childbirth, as well as a symbol of female fertility. Her fearsome appearance was so that she could frighten demons away from women, especially those in childbirth. But she could also divert the jealousies of other women, either away from newly born children or from oneself. In other words, she was a force against the evil eye. Most later legends had her married to Bes, the dwarf god who also played a role in childbirth and was oftentimes shown in the company of Tauret in depictions of childbirth.

As a domestic deity she was portrayed on beds and on pillows. Her picture was also found on women's cosmetic tools, headrests, and jewelry. There were even vessels in the shape of the goddess, with a hole in one of her nipples for pouring. When accompanied with a spell it was thought that she would assign magical protection to children, when milk was poured through these vessels. Pregnant women commonly wore amulets bearing the goddess's image, and her protection even extended to children. As the mother hippo is protective of her young, Tauret was believed to be protective of Egyptian children. Tauret was also a mother-goddess who wore the solar disk and cow's horns to symbolize how she helped in the daily rebirth of the sun. She was even called the Eye of Ra, his daughter, and the mother of Osiris and Isis.

Tauret's origin was Thebes, and she was worshipped in temples both at Thebes and Deir el-Bahri. The remains of the later temple are stupendous (http://members.aol.com/egypttour/deirelbahri.html). By the name Apet (or Ipet) she watched over of the cemeteries there. She had knives to scare Egypt's enemies and at her feet stood a Sa-amulet for protection (originally a sailor's life belt made of reed). These magic knives became amulets kept in the company of pregnant women, and were usually made of hippopotamus ivory, thus enlisting the support of that fearsome beast against evil. She was goddess of harvests as well as a goddess who helped with female sexuality and pregnancy. In this capacity, she was linked with the goddess Hathor. In the Book of the Dead Tauret, the 'Lady of Magical Protection', was seen as a goddess who guided the dead into the afterlife.

In Egyptian astronomy, Tauret was linked to the northern sky. In this role she was known as Nebetakhet, the Mistress of the Horizon - the ceiling painting of the constellations in the tomb of Seti I showed her in this capacity. She was thought to keep the northern sky - a place of darkness, cold, mist, and rain to the Egyptians - free of evil. She was shown to represent the never-setting circumpolar stars of Ursa Minor and Draco. The seven stars lined down her back are the stars of the Little Dipper. In a less favorable legend, Tauret was married to Seth, evil brother to Osiris. This legend might have come about because Seth, as the evil one, was sometimes depicted as a hippo too. In Lower Egypt there was a Hippo Feast since the Old Kingdom, during which the king as Horus killed a white hippo, identified with Seth. Seth was thought to have turned into a hippopotamus during his fight with Horus, where he was harpooned by the falcon god. The hippopotamus also figured prominently in the mythical creature of the afterworld Ammut, the female demon who ate the soul of the dead if they failed the judgment of Ma'at. Ammut possessed the rear end of a hippopotamus, and was combined with the body parts of other fearsome Egyptian creatures.

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.

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."