Egyptian Glazed Faience Amulet of Shu


An Egyptian, turquoise glazed-faience, amuletic figure of the god Shu. He is depicted kneeling down on one knee, on an integrated plinth. Both arms are raised with palms facing outwards. He wears a tripartite wig on his head, along with a false beard. The god’s facial features are clear, with evidence of rounded eyes, protruding nose and small mouth. There is a pierced suspension ring at the back of the amulet.

Date: Circa 664-332 BC
Period: Late Period
Provenance: From an English collection (A.B), 1930s-1940s.
Condition: Fine condition. Some earthly encrustation and wear to the surface. Chips to the feet, right hand and suspension loop.


SKU: XJ-41 Category: Tag:

Shu was the primeval god of light and air and also associated with the principle of life. He was created by Atum “the all” – the first god from whom all else arose. Shu’s birth was narrated in the Pyramid Text utterance 660 “You are the eldest son of Atum, his first-born; Atum has spat you out from his mouth in your name of Shu”. This origin story is also corroborated by the Coffin Text.

Shu’s association to the principle of life is in his role of separating his children Geb (earth) and Nut (sky). Geb and Nut were said to be infatuated with each other and whilst they were in the act of love making, Shu separated them by lifting Nut up. This allows Nut to give birth to her children. Symbolically, Shu as the air between earth and sky, lifted the sky up, giving space for life to flourish. Shu initiated this action by raising both his arms while kneeling. A sun disc is also often shown over his head, in allusion to the sky. This kneeling stance is a classic depiction of Shu and often used in amulets, just like this example. Amulets of Shu became especially popular in the Late Period.

To find out more about Ancient Egyptian amulets please see our relevant blog post: Egyptian Amulets and their Meanings: Ancient Egyptian Gods.

Weight 4.84 g
Dimensions L 1.6 x W 0.9 x H 2.9 cm

Egyptian Mythology



Reference: For a similar item: National Museums Liverpool, Liverpool, item 42.18.77

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