An Egyptian bright turquoise faience amulet modelled in the shape of the god Shu, portrayed kneeling on a rectangular base with his arms raised to hold a sun disk over his head. The deity is shown wearing a kilt, long beard and tripartite wig. The reverse features a loop for attachment. 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.
Date: Circa 664-332 BC Period: Late Period to Ptolemaic Period Condition: Extremely fine.
In Egyptian culture and mythology, Shu was believed to be divinity of light and air, personifying the wind and the earth’s atmosphere. He marked the separation between day and night, and between the living and the dead. The deity was also associated with the principle of life. Shu was particularly important to sailors, as they called upon his power to aid the ships’ sails. It is believed that his children, Nut (goddess of the sky) and Geb (god of the Earth), were infatuated with each other. Shu intervened, and held Nut above his head to separate the pair: in doing so, he created the atmosphere and the conditions required for life. In amulets, such as this fine example, Shu kneels with his arms raised to perform this exploit, holding a sun disk over his head, in allusion to the sky.