Egyptian Faience Statuette-Amulet of Re-Horakhty
Period: Saite Period (Dynasty 26, ca. 7th-6th century B.C.)
Dimensions: H: 6 cm
Ex-collection of Captain E.G. Spencer-Churchill, M.C; acquired from Christie’s London, Northwick Park Collection, June 21, 1965, lot 196.
This statuette is intact. The glaze was less well formed in places during the firing process or was slightly damaged (under the base and near the pillar).
Despite its miniature size, the artistic qualities of this figurineits proportions, careful modeling of the body, and richly incised details, especially on the headplace it among the most remarkable of small artworks. The god is personified by a hawk-headed man. He stands upright on a small base in the slightly stiff position common to all Egyptian deities: left leg placed forward, arms hanging down alongside the body, torso and head frontal, gaze directed forward. He wears only a striated loincloth and his usual headgear, composed of the solar disk and the uraeus. In the back, the statuette is reinforced by a long pillar that extends to the height of the disk and is drilled with a suspension hole at the level of Re’s chest.
A major Egyptian god embodying the sun, Re was worshiped throughout the country, but mainly in Heliopolis, in the Delta. Depending on the time of the day, he would appear in three different guises: as Khepri, the scarab-headed man, at sunrise; as Horakhty, the personification of the sun at its zenith; and as Atum, in the form of an old man, at sunset, just before his evening disappearance. He was most often represented in the form of the hawk-headed Re-Horakhty. Amulets of this type were widespread in non-royal tombs from the Third Intermediate Period and were placed on the chests of mummies. According to C. Andrews, they offered their owners an eternal rebirth, similar to that of the sun, which reappears every morning.
ANDREWS, C., Amulets of Ancient Egypt (London, 1994), p. 24, fi g. 20; p. 29, fi g. 26.
ANDREWS, C., (ed.), Objects for Eternity: Egyptian Antiquities from the W. Arnold Meijer Collection (Mainz am Rhine, 2006), pp. 221ff ., no. 3.38.
SCHLICK-NOLTE, B., et al., Skarabäen, Amulette und Schmuck, Liebieghaus Frankfurt, Museum alter Plastik, Ägyptische Bildwerke, Band 1 (Melsungen, 1990), pp. 230-31, nos. 194-196.