Ancient Egyptian Hardstone Amulet of a Trussed Ox

£ 425.00

An Egyptian red hardstone amulet of an ox, his feet bound. The amulet has a large ovoid body, tapering inwards slightly to represent a thick neck. An outline of the animals features has been constructed, with small protruding horns and a rectangular-set snout. This type of amulet is known as a trussed ox, based on the bounded hooves. The amulet is made in a red hardstone, imitating red jasper; black and white marbling running through the vibrant stone. The amulet is attached to a perspex stand.

Length measurements apply to the amulet alone.

Date: Circa 664 - 332 BC
Period: Late Period
Provenance: Ex Bonham's, Antiquities Auction, 21st April 2005, lot 42. Ex Hans Becker Collection. Ex private collection, Professor Kenneth Graham, London.
Condition: Excellent condition. Distinctive features. Attached to a perspex stand.
Product Code: ES-145
Category: Tag:

Trussed ox amulets were popular during both the New Kingdom and the Late period, found in burial excavations and amongst mummy wrappings. They were intended to represent an offering of meat towards the gods. As with most customs relating to death, the Egyptian were formulaic in their offerings. A particular offering formula, known as the ḥtp-ḏỉ-nsw formula, allowed the deceased to partake in the offerings offered to particular deities. Oxen were part of expected and customary foods offered to the gods, along with bread, beer, birds, alabaster and clothing. Amulets such as this would have reinforced the offering by the deceased.

The colour of amulets was important and carefully chosen. The majority of ox amulets are red, created in red jasper or an imitating material. This particular example is made from hardstone but still retains the vibrant ochre colour, thus maintaining its apotropaic properties. Red was used frequently in Egyptian art. It was used to express the virility and lifeline of men and to symbolise rebirth, associated with Isis. Given it’s function as a tool for the afterlife, we can ascertain that the red hue of such ox amulets not only represented the fleshy nature of meat, but reiterated its association with rebirth.

To discover more about amulets in the Ancient Egyptian world, please visit our relevant post: Amulets in Ancient Egypt.

Dimensions L 2.2 cm

North Africa



Reference: For similar: Liverpool World Museum, UK, item M11887

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