EGYPTIAN OBSIDIAN IMPLEMENT
S O L D
Measurements: length – 10. 8 cm
Description: A translucent shiny obsidian implement of an elongated ellipsoid shape. It is finely polished, of uncertain function, possibly, ritualistic. Also known as volcanic glass, obsidian does not occur in Egypt and was imported from Ethiopian and southern Red Sea regions. During the Pre-Dynastic Period obsidian was known for its strength and sharpness and was used for weapons, but later was replaced with metals. Being a scarce resource it was used mostly for the religious needs like sporadic production of scarabs and especially during the Late Period for specific amulets and inlays, many of which were part of the mummification process, notably the Two Fingers.
Recently, the similar spatula-shaped object of comparable size (length – 70mm, width – 30mm, thickness – 3mm) was discovered inside a scull of a man’s mummy wrapped in a way typical for 26th Dynasty (c. 600 BC). The CT-scan shows density of the material similar to that of wood. ( see J. H. Taylor, D. Antoine, Ancient Lives, New Discoveries: eight mummies, eight stories, London, 2014, p. 53, 56).
Reference: Petrie Museum - object UC7323
Christie’s sale 6060, lot 118.
Period: Late Period, 664 - 332 BC
Condition: Very fine, intact. Some minor chipping to the surface.