Ancient Egyptian Bead with Baboon and Nefer symbol - Scarab Ex. Gustav Jequier (1868-1946)
Measurement: 1.1 x .8 x 2.5 cm
Material/colour: cream-coloured glazed steatite.
Technique: carved stone; pierced longitudinally.
Condition: crackling of glaze on top; small chip from edge near nefer symbol.
Date: Twenty-sixth Dynasty
Identification and Interpretation: Image of ape with Nefer and Re above.
Workmanship: smooth and well made bead with charming baboon very skillfully carved on one side.
Function and Meaning: In Ancient Egyptian mythology, baboons rose early to greet the rising Sun. They figure prominently in the vignette from the Book of Going Forth by Day incorrectly labeled Spell 16, and in other Underworld texts. This monkey holds a nefer symbol in his two hands and stands on his hind legs. Above him is the disk of the sun.
Lack of wear suggests it was strung into bead net or necklace for a mummy.
Comments: Main items of this collection are from Sakkara. Therefore this bead may be associated with the catacombs of the baboons. Baboons were, however, mummified and buried in catacombs in many other places as well.
Provenance: Collected by Gustave Jéquier (1868-1946)
Ex. Billy Jamieson Collection, 2009 (1954-2011)
Authentication: Gayle Gibson, Royal Ontario Museum Toronto
References by Russel Rudzwick; see :
1. Brunton,Guy. Matmar, Plate LXIII, Nos. 119 to 125, XXII to XXVth Dyn. (Cemetery 67-155), text is silent, but very similar to this.
2. Grenfell, Alice. Amuletic Scarabs, Etc., for the Deceased, in Recueil de Travaux Relatifs a la Philologie et a L’Archaeologie, Paris, 1908; pp. 105 to 120; pages 113-114, Plate II, No. 87.
3. Keel,Othmar. Corpus IV, 2013, pages 656-657; 22nd Dyn., found at Bet Schemesch, scaraboid like yours, ape with nefer. See O’Connell/Rose/Toombs, p. 86, plate 9A.
4. Matouk, Fouad. Corpus du Scarabee Egyptien, Volume 2, Beirut, 1979: Page 388, Nos. 775 and 776.
5. Petrie, W.M.F. Buttons & Design Scarabs, London, 1925: Plate XIII, Nos. 844 & 845.
6. Sarr, John. Gayer-Anderson Scarab Collection, Portland Art Museum; page 36, No. 29.16.43a.