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Wednesday, 2 October 2013

More Nubian Stuff - Faience Head, a Talisman for Children

EC537 is a faience head of a Nubian. The head can be recognised as Nubian by the treatment of the eyes and by the cruciform hairstyle. The piece is 3.5cm high. It appears to belong to a larger piece. Parallels suggest a date of the Third Intermdiate Period to Late Period. 

The hairstyle appears to be associated with Nubian women (Bulté 1991, 94), who are often shown on items associated with toilet and with childbirth and motherhood (e.g Ashmolean AN1896-1908 E.1807 and the British Museum ostraca below). 

Similar examples include ECM822 in the Eton College collection (Graves 2013). Several important goddesses such as Tefnut and Sekhmet were associated with Nubia in the Late Period. Friedman (1998, 208) believes that such figures are associated with motherhood and perhaps used to protect young children. A complete example is in the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston (1951.13, in Friedman 1998 ed. 69: 109, 208 and http://www.mfa.org/search/collections?keyword=1984.168) shows a nursing figure. Graves (2013) further associates them with Beset.

A female figure with a similar hairstyle can be seen on this 19th Dynasty ostracon from Deir el-Medina (British Museum EA 8506, copyright British Museum Trustees).

Bulté, J. 1991. Talismans Égytiens d’Heureuse Maternité. Faïence bleu vert à pois foncés. Paris.
Friedman, F.D. ed. 1989. Gifts of the Nile: Ancient Egyptian Faience. Thames and Hudson: London.
Graves, C. 2013. Eton College Myers Collection of Egyptian Antiquities Object Highlight: ECM822, A Faience Nubian Head. Birmingham Egyptology Journal, 1. http://birminghamegyptology.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2013/01/Eton-College-Myers-Collection-of-Egyptian-Antiquities-Object-Highlight-ECM822-A-Faience-Nubian-Head1.pdf (accessed 1.10.2013).

Other Nubian and Nubian related items in the Egypt Centre

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