Pectoral amulet depicting the god Anubis

Faience pectoral amulet. Perforated horizontally for stringing, shrine-shaped plaque. The top border of the shrine is modeled and accented with black, but the other details are painted in black beneath the final coat of glaze. The central design is surrounded by a border. The border pattern on the top and sides consists of two narrow lines connected by sets of three perpendicular lines separated by blank spaces. On the bottom, the border consists of a bar of seventeen continuous simple shrines with doors. Within the border are two shrines with decorated cornices and doors, very similar in shape to the pectoral itself. Atop each shrine is a recumbent jackal, which face each other in antithetical composition. Their tails hang down behind the shrines, and their ears are alert. Each wears a magical tie or collar. There are different epithets above and behind each jackal. Since the jackals represent Anubis, the god of mummification, this pectoral is a purely funerary type of amulet. It would have rested on the chest of a mummy.

Historical period(s)
Dynasty 18 or 19, New Kingdom, ca. 1539-1190 BCE
Medium
Faience (glazed composition)
Dimensions
H x W x D: 6.6 x 8.6 x 0.8 cm (2 5/8 x 3 3/8 x 5/16 in)
Geography
Egypt
Credit Line
Gift of Charles Lang Freer
Collection
Freer Gallery of Art
Accession Number
F1907.152
On View Location
Currently not on view
Classification(s)
Faience
Type

Amulet

Keywords
Anubis, Dynasty 18 (ca. 1539 - 1295 BCE), Dynasty 19 (ca. 1292 - 1190 BCE), Egypt, New Kingdom (ca. 1539 - 1075 BCE), protection
Provenance

To 1907
Dikran G. Kelekian (1868-1951), Cairo, Egypt, Paris, France, and New York to 1907 [1]

From 1907 to 1919
Charles Lang Freer (1854-1919), purchased from Dikran G. Kelekian in 1907 [2]

From 1920
Freer Gallery of Art, gift of Charles Lang Freer in 1920 [3]

Notes:

[1] See Original Pottery List, L. 1581, Freer Gallery of Art and Arthur M. Sackler Gallery Archives.

[2] See note 1.

[3] The original deed of Charles Lang Freer's gift was signed in 1906. The collection was received in 1920 upon the completion of the Freer Gallery.

Previous Owner(s)

Charles Lang Freer 1854-1919
Dikran Garabed Kelekian (C.L. Freer source) 1868-1951

Description

Faience pectoral amulet. Perforated horizontally for stringing, shrine-shaped plaque. The top border of the shrine is modeled and accented with black, but the other details are painted in black beneath the final coat of glaze. The central design is surrounded by a border. The border pattern on the top and sides consists of two narrow lines connected by sets of three perpendicular lines separated by blank spaces. On the bottom, the border consists of a bar of seventeen continuous simple shrines with doors. Within the border are two shrines with decorated cornices and doors, very similar in shape to the pectoral itself. Atop each shrine is a recumbent jackal, which face each other in antithetical composition. Their tails hang down behind the shrines, and their ears are alert. Each wears a magical tie or collar. There are different epithets above and behind each jackal. Since the jackals represent Anubis, the god of mummification, this pectoral is a purely funerary type of amulet. It would have rested on the chest of a mummy.

Inscription(s)

Two hieroglyphic inscriptions, one above and behind each jackal. Above the left jackal: inpw imy wt = Anubis who is embalmer. Above the right: inpw hnty w`bt ntr = Anubis who is before the god’s place of embalming.

Label

The central design of this amulet consists of a pair of jackals facing each other, each seated atop a shrine.  The jackals represent Anubis, the ancient Egyptian god of embalming, who was also the guardian of the cemetery. Above and behind each jackal are hieroglyphs giving two of the common epithets of Anubis: "Anubis who is embalmer," and "Anubis who is before the god’s place of embalming."  The amulet itself is in the form of a shrine, and is pierced for suspending on a cord.  Since the jackals represent Anubis, the god of mummification, this pectoral is a purely funerary type of amulet.  It would have been placed on the chest of the mummy to ensure its safe passage into the next life.

Published References
  • Ann C. Gunter. A Collector's Journey: Charles Lang Freer and Egypt. Washington and London, 2002. pp. 99, 130, figs. 4.7, 5.6.
Collection Area(s)
Ancient Egyptian Art
Web Resources
Google Cultural Institute
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