Mould-made amuletic figure in glazed composition, representing a male figure seated on a simplified throne with high back; wearing a high headdress, either the characteristic crown of Nefertum or of Amun (?); very schematic representation; pierced widthwise behind head for suspension; turquoise glaze well preserved.
- Production date
- 6thC BC (?)
Height: 2.50 centimetres
Width: 0.90 centimetres
Depth: 0.60 centimetres
- Curator's comments
- Identified possibly as a Nefertum figure, this amulet differs however from other Nefertum amulets found at Naukratis, which represent the deity standing, in a striding pose. Nefertum is a deity particularly revered in the Memphite region, as the son in the Memphite sacred triad, and at Bubastis through his close association with Bastet/Sekhmet (Weiss 2012, 106). His cult was however relatively popular in the whole Delta region. During the Late Period, Nefertum’s role widened to ‘bearer of good fortune’ explaining his popularity as an amuletic figure (Heinz 2011, 217). Nefertum is relatively well represented in small amuletic figures from Naukratis, may they be in copper alloy, glazed composition or stone like for this specimen (Masson forthcoming).
On amulets of Nefertum see: Andrews 1994, 18-19; Herrmann et al. 2010, 56 (type 24).
The other possibility would be to identify this amulet with a representation of Amun-Ra. Since no other views of this amulet are available, it is difficult to decide between both identifications.
Considering its context of discovery, it should be dated to the 26th dynasty. However, the registers of the Museum of Fine Arts tend to allocate the Scarab Factory as a findspot for not only scarabs, scaraboids and their moulds, but also all types of amulets from Naukratis. Caution is therefore required for the dating and the findspot. Let's note that the records written (or at least supervised) by Amelia Edwards mention the Scarab Factory as the findspot too.
Andrews, C. 1994, Amulets of Ancient Egypt, London.
Heinz, S. 2011, ‘The lead statuettes and amulets of Heracleion-Thonis’, in A. C. Smith and M. E. Bergeron (eds), The Gods of Small Things, Toulouse, 211-232.
Herrmann, C., Staubli, T., Berger-Lober, S., Keel, O., Schönbächler, G. 2010, 1001 Amulett : altägyptischer Zauber, monotheisierte Talismane, säkulare Magie, Bibel+Orient-Museum, Liebefeld, Stuttgart.
Masson, A. forthcoming, ‘A reflexion on Egyptian metal offerings from Naukratis’, in Heracleion in context: The maritime economy of the Egyptian Late Period, Proceedings of the conference in the University of Oxford, 15-17 March 2013.
Weiss, K. 2012, Ägyptische Tier- und Götterbronzen aus Unterägypten: Untersuchungen zu Typus, Ikonographie und Funktion sowie der Bedeutung innerhalb der Kulturkontakte zu Griechenland, Ägypten und Altes Testament 81.
- Not on display
- Additional IDs
Miscellaneous number: Eg.Inv.3889 (Egyptian inventory number)
Miscellaneous number: P.5246 (Pottery & Porcelain Ledger No.)
Miscellaneous number: RES.86.308 (Accession Number)