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Eye Amulet

Egyptian, Classical, Ancient Near Eastern Art

The Egyptians worked with gold and semiprecious stones from earliest times. They mined both types of material in the desert east of the Nile and in present-day Sudan, called “Nubia” in ancient times after the ancient Egyptian word for gold (nub). Clearly, objects made from these high-value materials were available only to the highest ranks of society.
CULTURE Egyptian
  • Place Made: Saqqara, Egypt
  • DATES 525-343 B.C.E.
    DYNASTY XXVII Dynasty-XXX Dynasty
    PERIOD Persian Period
    DIMENSIONS 9/16 x 3/16 x 11/16 in. (1.5 x 0.5 x 1.7 cm)  (show scale)
    MUSEUM LOCATION This item is not on view
    CREDIT LINE Charles Edwin Wilbour Fund
    RIGHTS STATEMENT Creative Commons-BY
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    CAPTION Egyptian. Eye Amulet, 525-343 B.C.E. Gold, 9/16 x 3/16 x 11/16 in. (1.5 x 0.5 x 1.7 cm). Brooklyn Museum, Charles Edwin Wilbour Fund, 37.795E. Creative Commons-BY
    IMAGE front, 37.795E_front_PS2.jpg. Brooklyn Museum photograph, 2007
    "CUR" at the beginning of an image file name means that the image was created by a curatorial staff member. These study images may be digital point-and-shoot photographs, when we don\'t yet have high-quality studio photography, or they may be scans of older negatives, slides, or photographic prints, providing historical documentation of the object.
    CATALOGUE DESCRIPTION Gold amulet with a sandy (?) filling in the form of an uadjet. The gold shell consists of three main parts, a decorated obverse and plain reverse, overlapping at the edges, which was probably made of two strips of gold joined at the threading holes. The outline of the amulet and the ends of the threading tube are finished with guards of wire. There is considerable decorative applique in grains and wire on the obverse. The eyebrow is created by rows of hatched, herring-bone and tongue patterns with grains within and between each tongue. The cosmetic line is a row of grains above a coiling seam of wire below which is again a tongue pattern with grains which then follows the contour of the rear falcon marking to the spiraled curl. Within the solid area between the cosmetic line and rear falcon marking are further geometric decorative elements: an applied notch terminating in two spiral patterns, one above the other - and a six petaled rosette within that field to the right. The forepart of the falcon marking is vertically striated by six seams with grains between the seams just below the rim of the eye. The pupil of the eye is a domed disk soldered on. Condition: Very good. The gold sheet of the reverse is split open a little way along its upper edge revealing the dark sandy (?) filling. The obverse has lost an insignificant amount of its appliqued ornament. In the interstices of the ornament and showing clearly in the photographs is some foreign matter, probably preservatives from the mummy on which it was placed. The gold contains a few specks of white metal.
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