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An Egyptian Duck Amulet of Red Jasper, Middle Kingdom, ca. 2040-1991BC

one of the earliest amuletic forms, this exceptional duck amulet is finely carved from red jasper,  the bird's long neck turned across the back with the elegantly shaped head resting in the center, symbolic of resurrection, eyes and long bill articulated, the integrated flat base with cross hatch pattern.   

Background:   Birds played a vital role in the lives of the ancient Egyptians and were such a focus of religion and culture that they were mummified as offerings at temples.  As well as being food items, ducks were often incorporated into Egyptian art – on tomb ceilings, cosmetic unguent holders and jewellery.  It has been suggested that duck representations may also allude to female sexuality and fertility.  

Reference:  cf: Carol Andrews, Amulets of Ancient Egypt (London, British Museum Press, 1994) and Cleveland Museum of Art, inv. no: 1914.569 (for a feldspar example).

Condition:   Pierced for attachment, hand carved from high quality red jasper, intact and in excellent condition overall.  A highly desirable and rare amulet.

Dimensions:   Length: 5/8" (1.5 cm)

Provenance:  Acquired in Egypt by Goddard Du Bois (b. 1869 – d. 1925) and Josephine Cook Du Bois (b. 1864 – d. 1961), New York between 1900 and 1907, exhibited Metropolitan Museum of Art between 1920-1948. Goddard & Josephine Dubois, husband & wife team, took frequent excursions throughout Egypt between 1900-07. Josephine was particularly proud of her collection of necklaces that were loaned & exhibited at Metropolitan Museum New York to open their Egyptian Jewel Gallery in 1920.

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