Description: A restrung double-stranded necklace of blue faience beads, long tubular type, holding five blue faience amulets, comprising three crocodile amulets, a central staircase amulet (rare) and an amulet of indeterminate form. One crocodile amulet broken, a chip to the base of the staircase and some of the beads chipped and weathered, but an unusual group.
Size: The necklace measuring 298 mm/11.7 ins. in length, the amulets measuring 12-24 mm/0.5-0.9 in. in length
Date: Late Period, c. 600-300 B.C.
Provenance: From the collection of Julian Bird (1959-2014), the staircase amulet acquired in Brighton in 2008.
Background: Julian Bird was a passionate collector of Egyptian antiquities, who built up a fine and extensive collection from the 1970s onwards. He sourced his items mainly from the UK market, from specialist dealers, fairs, markets and auctioneers. He was a model collector, carefully documenting his collection, and his notes on this particular item will be supplied to the buyer.
Notes: According to Andrews (1994) the staircase amulet may have represented the primordial mound which arose out of the waters of chaos and upon which all life began. The Pyramid Texts tell of a staircase to heaven and the throne of Osiris, as judge of the dead, surmounted a stepped dais. Such amulets may have offered the deceased, recreation, resurrection and ascent to heaven. The form is restricted to the Saite Period and later.
Reference: Andrews, C. 1994. Amulets of Ancient Egypt, British Museum Press, London, p. 88.
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