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* An exceptional Egyptian Carnelian Snakehead Pendant, New Kingdom, ca. 1550 - 1295 BC

EA1914

Amulets representing the head and forepart of a snake were worn to ward off snakebite, common in Ancient Egypt, and as greatly feared by the dead as by the living.   Although not clear why, it was apparently important for the serpents' head to be red as most examples are of carnelian, like this one, or of some other red material such as jasper.  

The head and much of the deflated hood is represented with clearly marked eyes and incised mouth that adds to the lifelike representation.  The natural dark inclusions in the carnelian have been cleverly utilized to represent ribbing that is usually carved on the neck.  At the end is a small loop that enabled the amulet to be suspended or attached by a cord. 

Such amulets were usually placed at the throat, which was regarded as a particularly vulnerable part of the body.

Dimensions: Length: 2.8 cm (1.1 inches)

Condition: Intact and in excellent condition overall.

Provenance:   Private English collection, acquired between 1970 - 2012.


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