c. 3500–2950 BC
Overall: 3.4 x 3.7 x 2.6 cm (1 5/16 x 1 7/16 x 1 in.)
John L. Severance Fund 1998.26
In ancient Egypt the symbol of a bull, when worn or held, was believed to offer protection and increase fertility.
This stunning amethyst amulet takes the shape of the head of a bull, an animal renowned from the earliest times in Egypt for its natural strength. The image presented is abstract, with only the most important of the animal features being represented: horns that curl downward in low relief, large eyes, and a narrow, cylindrical snout. The back is pierced horizontally for suspension. A well known but rare type, the bull's head amulet is also one of the earliest of all amulets from ancient Egypt, datable to the Predynastic period (4000–3000 BC). The outstanding composition and luxuriant violet hue of this example single it out as one of the very finest of its kind.
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