Egyptian Gold Ibex Amulet

£ 550.00

A fine gold Egyptian amulet of an ibex in a mid-stride position. The amulet features large horns that curve to the back of the head, characteristic of the Nubian ibex. The forelegs and hind legs are stretched out in the act of running or leaping. The ibex is pierced horizontally through the body for suspension.

Date: Circa 664-332 BC
Period: The Late Period
Condition: Fine condition.


SKU: LD-49 Category: Tag:

Gold was perceived as a very precious metal in Egyptian culture, the metal was located through mines along the River Nile, some extending 800 miles south of Cairo. River mining methods retrieved the raw gold by separating the substance from the auriferous sand. Sacks, manufactured from animal fleece, would be filled with both the sand and water and then vigorously shaken. The heavier pieces of gold would be isolated from the sand and adhere to the fleece. Gold held no financial purpose until the Ptolemaic period, barter trade was the dominant trading method and therefore the metal was worn as an indicator of status, particularly by royalty.

Gazelles, antelopes and ibexes were often depicted within Egyptian art. They were a symbol of ‘the hunt’, a prey animal depicted in offering lists. In particular, the ibex was often displayed in 3-dimensional form, for example as a cosmetic palette or as a pouring jar. It was also used most often on scarabs, in comparison to other gazelle types, as the Nubian ibex was small in size and lended itself well to minute depictions. This amulet exemplifies the small stature of the ibex particularly well. Ibex amulets have been found dating to the predynastic Badarian Period, circa 4500 BC, and it seems they were associated with varying properties. From the Old Kingdom the animal was associated with the god Seth. Perhaps an amulet was meant to ward of the malevolent powers of the evil god. As mentioned, the ibex was often offered as an offering, in food lists. Perhaps amulets such as these were meant for use in the afterlife, as a food source. Most importantly however, the ibex was also considered regenerative and thus would have been associated with the afterlife. Its ability to survive in the desert was seen as a way of overcoming the land of death, and by extension, death itself.

Weight 0.8 g
Dimensions L 1.5 x H 0.7 cm