Egyptian Silver Fly Amulet

£ 325.00

An ancient Egyptian silver amulet modelled in form of a fly, displayed with the wings open. The head, body and wings of the insect are decorated with finely incised lines. The amulet is pierced horizontally through the head for suspension. The reverse is unadorned.

Date: Circa 1550-1070 BC
Period: New Kingdom
Provenance: Ex UK Collection 1920s-1940s.
Condition: Excellent Condition. Some minor encrustations along the incision lines.
Product Code: ES-194
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The Egyptians wore amulets alongside other pieces of jewellery. They were decorative, but also served a practical purpose, being considered to bestow power and protection upon the wearer. Many of the amulets have been found inside the wrappings of mummies, as they were used to prepare the deceased for the afterlife. Amulets held different meanings, depending on their type and form. The symbolism related to the fly is uncertain, however ancient Egyptians wore fly-shaped amulets as a protection symbol against disease and misfortune. During the New Kingdom, a fly-shaped pendant called the Golden Fly (also known as the golden Fly of Valor or The Order of the golden Fly) was honoured by the pharaoh to Egyptian military for persistence and valour in battles. Scholars also proposed different hypotheses regarding this symbol. Some believe it was awarded for military achievement because of the fly’s resemblance to enemies’ persistence at war and also because of the fly’s tendency to hang around battlefields where blood was shed. Others do not agree entirely with this thesis as samples of fly amulets have been found in women’s and butlers’ tombs, individuals not active in war. One other possible intention of this amulet was to bestow the notorious fecundity of the fly to the wearer. However uncertain the significance of this symbol is, the fly also appears in many ancient neighbouring cultures, from Nubia to Cyprus.

In ancient Egypt, amulets were made of a wide range of materials including faience, lapis lazuli, carnelian, amethyst, jasper and metal. Amongst them, silver was considered the most precious for its rarity. Much of the metal during the time was imported from western Asia, and items of silver were valued higher than those of gold until the New Kingdom.

Weight 0.75 g
Dimensions L 1.65 x W 0.8 cm



North Africa

Reference: For a similar item,Brooklyn Museum, New York, item 14.641

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