An Egyptian amulet of a turtle, made from vivid semi-precious carnelian. The obverse has been incised with linear strokes to represent the turtle’s ridged shell. The amulet’s rough shape alludes to arms, legs and head protruding from the shell. The underside has been left blank. The amulet has been pierced at the top for suspension.
Date: Circa 1550-1070 BC Period: New Kingdom Period Condition: Very fine.
The representation of the turtle has existed from Predynastic times. It was considered an ambiguous force, reflecting their position as creatures of both land and sea. They were often considered the enemy of the sun-god Ra. The turtle’s secretive existence within it’s shell a natural opposition for the rising and illuminating sun. Turtles, as a sea creature, were considered a type of fish and were associated with the latter’s impurity. In the case of the turtle, rather than imbibe the wearer with its negative apotropaic properties, the turtle was meant to act a localised force against such qualities. It was thus worn to defend health and life. It was rarely worn however as an amulet past the New Kingdom period.
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