Egyptian Faience Amulet in the Form of a Four-sided Pillar
Period: Second Intermediate Period (Hyksos Period, ca. 18th-16th century B.C.)
Dimensions: H: 3.7 cm
Price: CHF 30'000
Ex-Félix-Bienaimé Feuardent (1819-1907) collection, France.
The object is complete and virtually intact except for minor chips near the base and on the top. Even the glaze is largely preserved and retains its original luster. Since it is pierced lengthwise, it served as an amulet/pendant, probably for a necklace.
The small column is composed of four cylinders, each representing a bundle of papyrus. This symbolism is emphasized not only by the color (the green recalls the wadj, a sign of prosperity), but also by the groups of horizontal incisions (extended by vertical lines) that depict the straps holding the plant stems together. Each stem is adorned with a cartouche indicating the name of a single king whose identification remains uncertain; this king has two different names that are repeated in each cartouche of the opposed stems (thus, the same name is listed twice on the pendant). Several of the engraved signs have parallels on scarabs or other amulets of the late Middle Kingdom or the Hyksos period, which provide a precise indication for the dating of the object.
A piece in the Cairo Museum, fragmentary and known only through a drawing published by Reisner, most likely represents the same type of amulet with four cylinders and one of the two cartouches incised on this amuletthe one with the two groups of stacked vertical stems and the rising sun (?)but, unfortunately, the publisher gives no reading for the name of the sovereign, which remains unknown. He was probably one of the many kinglets who succeeded in the various kingdoms and dynasties of the Hyksos period (besides, this term means Leaders of Foreign Countries and thus stresses the many foreign clans established in Egypt at that time). The name of this king, still unknown, might be read as Kha-sha-ka-Re (the fate of the Ka of Re appears) and Men-ny-Maat-Re (secure is the one who belongs to the justice of Re).
REISNER M.G.A., Amulets (CGC, vol. 29/2), (Cairo, 1958), pl. 11, no. 12889 (with the cartouche of the same sovereign).