A Published Egyptian Faience Isis Knot, Late Period, ca. 664 - 332 BCE
Object No: EA2102
of glassy blue faience, portraying an open, knotted loop of cloth from which hangs a long sash flanked by a pair of loops.
Background: We do not know exactly the origin of the Isis knot, which seems to illustrate a knotted piece of cloth, though initially, its hieroglyphic sign was perhaps a variant of the ankh. This rather enigmatic symbol closely resembles the ankh, except that its transverse arms are curved downward. Even in written sources the meaning and symbolism of this object, known as the tyet (tiet, thet) by the ancient Egyptians, seems to be similar to those of the ankh, and the sign is often translated as "life" or "welfare." In representational contexts, the tyet is found as a decorative symbol as early as the 3rd Dynasty, when it appears with both the ankh and the djed signs, and later with the was scepter. However, the symbol itself is much, much older, appearing at least as early as the Predynastic Period. By the New Kingdom, the symbol was clearly associated with Isis, perhaps due to its frequent association with the djed pillar. The two symbols were therefore used to allude to Osiris and Isis and to the binary nature of life itself. The association of the sign with Isis leads to it being given the names, "the knot of Isis" (as it resembles the knot which secures the garments of the gods in many representations), "the girdle of Isis" and "the blood of Isis."
Published: Charles Ede Ltd., Small Sculpture from Ancient Egypt XIII, 1986, no. 37.
Dimensions: Length: 3.4 cm (1.3 inches)
Condition: Intact and in very good condition overall.
Provenance: Estate of Madge Kirkham (1925 - 2016), acquired from Charles Ede Ltd. March 3rd, 1986 and accompanied by original Charles Ede Certificate of Authenticity.
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