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Sehkmet Goddess of War Amulet Necklace 466 BC $249.99 - SOLD

Turquoise Blue Ancient Egyptian Amulet of Sekhmet (Bust), God of Vengeance, Sexuality, and War; and Tubular Faience Bead ("Mummybead") Necklace.

CLASSIFICATION: Faience Composition Amulet and Faience Composition Bead Necklace.

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

SIZE: 34mm height, 20mm breadth, 16mm thickness; 75cm faience "mummybead" necklace (30 inches).

WEIGHT: 6.56 grams (amulet only).

CONDITION: Excellent, 40% faience glaze intact, exceptionally sharp detail preserved. Professionally conserved.

DETAIL: A 2,500 year old ancient Egyptian faience amulet depicting the bust of Goddess Sekhmet in her lion-headed manifestation, with a nicely detailed full mane. Sekhmet was the ancient Egyptian Goddess of War, Vengeance, Disease, and Sexuality. Sekhmet, regarded in some myths as the twin sister of Bastet, was ordinary depicted as a female form with the head of a lioness. This amulet of Sekhmet is a bust of the goddesses lioness head, somewhat in the fashion of a similar gold artifact found in Tutankhamen's Tomb. It is sharply detailed, especially with respect to the ears, facial features, and full mane, which are all very distinct. It has survived the passage of almost twenty-five centuries without cosmetically or structurally significant chips, breaks, or cracks. Sekhmet was often regarded in myth as an angry, vengeful manifestation of Hathor, the Egyptian "Mother Goddess". 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 face such as the muzzle, face, and the perimeter features such as the upright ears and mane fringe will be mostly or entirely devoid of faience glaze. But from the frontal perspective there is generally the impression of fairly substantial faience glaze. The Sekhmet amulet is intricately molded, especially with respect to the finer details of the face, and of the mane. As you can see, the facial details are simply stunning. All of Sekhmet's features are quite distinct. The amulet is quite exquisite in design, very well preserved, with no chips or cracks. The details of the face and mane in particular are simply superb, and give this particular style of amulet a very exotic flavor. Mounted and worn on a necklace fashioned of "mummybeads", this amulet is very distinctive and very elegant.

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 almost 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 Sekhmet was the lioness-headed Goddess of War, Vengeance, Sexuality, and of the Desert. She was a manifestation of the Mother Goddess, Hathor. As a sun goddess Sekhmet represents the scorching, burning, destructive heat of the sun. Daughter of Nut and Geb, Sekhmet was the wife of the creator-god Ptah. In many legends Sekhment was the twin sister of Bastet, the "Cat Goddess". In the old kingdom, Sekhmet was worshipped at her Egyptian temple in Memphis, and was the goddess of the unforgiving "red desert." Her sister Bastet's temple was on the island of Bubastis in the Nile desert, where she presided over the fertile "black desert", or Nile floodplain.

Sekhmet means "The Mighty One," and she was one of the most powerful of the gods and goddesses. She was the goddess who meted out divine punishment to the enemies of Ra and Osiris, as well as to the enemies of the pharaoh. In this capacity she was called the "Eye of Ra", and was the personification of divine retribution, vengeance, and conquest. She accompanied the pharaoh into battle, launching fiery arrows into battle ahead of him. She also guarded Ra's boat as it passed through the 12 zones of the underworld.

Worshipped as part of a triad made up of herself, her husband Ptah and their eldest child Nefertem, Sekhmet's cult center was at Memphis. Her husband Ptah was considered the primal creator, the first of all the gods, creator of the world and all that was in it. Ptah was not himself created, he simply was. In some legends Ptah was the personification of the primal matter, Ta-Tenen, which rose out of Nun, the fundamental seas. Ptah and Sekhmet's offspring were Nefertem, Mahes, and Imhotep. Of these three siblings Imhotep was not really a god, but rather a deified man. He was originally the chief architect, grand vizier, physician, and scientist under Zoser (Third Dynasty 2635-2570 BC). Imhotep designed the Step Pyramid at Saqqara and formulated the architectural theories that would lead to the construction of the Pyramids of Giza only a few generations later. He was also an accomplished astronomer and physician. Mahes was likely an Egyptian assimilation of the Nubian lion-god Apedemak. Nefertem was the god of the sunrise who helped to bring the sun into the sky that Ra inhabited.

Within Tutankhamen's tomb was found a golden Sekhmet Amulet, as well as a myth engraved into one of the shrines of Tutankhamen's tomb. In this ancient legend of Ra and Hathor (Sekhmet), Ra, first born son of the progenitor god Nut, was displeased with mankind. With his terrible gaze Ra destroyed most of mankind with a mere glance. But much of mankind hid from Ra's wrathful gaze. So to seek out the remnants of mankind, Ra sent his eye, in the form of Hathor (his daughter), to earth to destroy the balance of mankind. Hathor manifested herself as a terrible lioness, the goddess Sekhmet, and nearly destroyed mankind.

In fact, Sekhmet developed a blood thirst, and was bent on the total destruction of mankind. Ra, feeling sorry for the remainders of mankind, was unable to abate Skehmet's fury. Resorting to subterfuge, Ra had several thousand jars of beer brewed, which were then dyed the color of blood. A lake of beer was placed in the path of Sekhmet. When she came upon it, she drank it all thinking it was blood. After drinking the beer, Sekhmet grew tired and fell asleep. Awakened, Sekhmet realized what she had done, and felt humiliated and shamed by the trickery.

Sekhmet became angry with Ra and wandered away from Egypt. Great sadness falls over the land and Ra, lost without his Eye, decides to fetch her back. However, still in the form of Sekhmet, Hathor remains a wild cat who destroys all who dare approach her. The God Thoth, disguised, manages to coax the angry goddess to return to Egypt. Back in Egypt, Sekhmet bathes in the Nile, and is transformed back into Hathor. She once again settles into her normally gentle demeanor, but not before the waters turn red from the effort of cooling her rage.

Sekhmet was usually depicted as a lioness or as a woman with the head of a lioness. On her head was usually placed the solar disk and the uraeus serpent, a cobra symbol worn on the crown or headdress of royalty. The uraeus was used as a protective symbol, as the Egyptians believed that the cobra would spit fire at any approaching enemies. As an Old Kingdom Goddess, Sekhmet could also send plagues and disease against her enemies. However by the New Kingdom Sekhmet had developed into a softer personality, oftentimes beseeched to avoid plague and cure disease. She had become a peaceful protectress of the righteous, and was viewed as a much more benevolent deity. Being mother of Nefertem, who himself was a healing god, gave Sekhmet a more protective side that manifested itself in her aspect of goddess of healing and surgery. Part of her destruction side was also disease and plague, as the 'Lady of Pestilence'. But she could also cure those same ailments that she could bring. The priests of Sekhmet were specialists in the field of medicine, arts linked to ritual and magic. They were also trained surgeons of remarkable caliber.

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 in this instance) as a matching set with an amulet which can be worn or displayed with pride.

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."