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A rare Egyptian Glass Seal of a Frog, 18th Dynasty, Amarna Period, ca. 1353–1336 BC.
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A rare Egyptian Glass Seal of a Frog, 18th Dynasty, Amarna Period, ca. 1353–1336 BC.

During the first century AD the Roman writer Pliny the Elder recorded the Egyptian belief that the frog was an example of spontaneous generation, self-created from the mud from which it emerged.   This idea no doubt arose because of the numbers of baby frogs that appeared in the mud each year when the waters of the inundation receded.   Found in burials as early as the PreDynastic period, the frog amulet does not occur in numbers until the late Old Kingdom/First Intermediate Period and during the New Kingdom, the frog hieroglyph was used as a comic pun denoting 'living again', a well-wishing term written after the names of the deceased. This connection with new life was even carried down to the Coptic Period when frogs appear on pottery lamps bearing the text 'I am the resurrection'. 

For the living, however, the frog offered fecundity by assimilation and was particularly worn by women not just as a pendant amulet but from the New Kingdom also as a swiveling ring bezel.   This rare and very fine example, takes the form of a frog seal.  Made from intense turquoise glass, it takes a specialized shape, crouching with head upraised and eyes popping on an oval base incised with an inscription underside that reads: " Mery-re"  i.e. " "Beloved of Re".  Although the frog-form seal was soon displaced by the scarab in popularity, it continued to be produced alongside the uninscribed frog amulet until the Late Dynastic Period.

Bibliography:  Andrews, C. (1998) Amulets of Ancient Egypt, p. 63

Dimensions: Length:  1/2 inch (1.27 cm)

Condition:  Intact and in excellent condition overall.  A very fine example. 

Provenance:  Private NY collection, acquired in the 1920's and then by descent.

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