A Rare Egyptian Faience Amulet for Aker, Late Period, ca. 664-332 BCE
Object No: EA1410
of glazed blue/green faience, portraying two couchant lions on either side, facing away from one another, a symbol of borders; one representing the concept of yesterday (Sef in Egyptian), and the other the concept of tomorrow (Duau in Egyptian). Between them is the hieroglyph for horizon - the sun's disc placed between two mountains.
Background: Aker (also spelt Akar) was one of the earliest gods worshipped, and, as the deification of the horizon, was also seen as symbolic of the borders between each day. Since the horizon was where night became day, Aker was said to guard the entrance and exit to the underworld, opening them for the sun to pass through during the night. As the guard, it was said that the dead had to request Aker to open the underworld's gates, so that they might enter. Also, as all who had died had to pass Aker, it was said that Aker annulled the causes of death, such as extracting the poison from any snakes that had bitten the deceased, or from any scorpions that had stung them.
As the Egyptians believed that the gates of the morning and evening were guarded by Aker, they sometimes placed twin statues of lions at the doors of their palaces and tombs. This was to guard the households and tombs from evil spirits and other malevolent beings. This practice was adopted by the Greeks and Romans, and is still unknowingly followed by some today. Unlike most of the other Egyptian deities, the worship of Aker remained popular well into the Greco-Roman era. Aker had no temples of his own like the main gods in the Egyptian religion, since he was more connected to the primeval concepts of the very old earth powers.
Condition: Loss to top of suspension loop otherwise intact and in very good condition overall.
Dimensions: Length: 1.5 cm (5/8 in)
Provenance: Private Private NYC collection, acquired Christie's in 1970's.
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