This is a small amulet with a beautiful blue colour, depicting a coiled uraeus or cobra. The head of the animal is erect and the hood is open. The body is coiled behind into the shape of an eight. There is no suspension loop, so the upper opening probably functioned as such. Nice detailing of the open hood. On an integral base.
From the earliest dynasties the upreared cobra, the uraeus, was the emblem of royalty, worn on pharaoh's forehead to signify his kingship and divinity. As a goddess she was the eye of the sun, spitting fire at the king's enemies. The uraeus was among the amulets depicted in both the MacGregor papyrus and the Osiris complex at Dendera. Usually more than one was placed on the mummy, sometimes at the forehead or even over the feet, but most often on the torso. The uraeus, which as amulet was intended to provide the non-royal dead with the protection usually reserved for royalty, but which, because of the sloughing of its skin also symbolised resurrection, exists in two basic forms from the twenty-sixth dynasty onwards. In both the fully puffed-up hood is carefully detailed; in the commoner type a great coil of the body arches up behind to the same height as the head (as is the case on our amulet) and has a suspension loop on top of it. In the other form only the tip of the tail appears to one side of the base of the hood which lies against a back pillar pierced for suspension. See Carol Andrews, Amulets of Ancient Egypt (London, British Museum Press, 1994), p. 34-35 and especially p. 75-76 and fig. 76b.
Late Period, 7th-4th century B.C.
Height: 20 mm excluding base, or 34 mm including base.
Dutch private collection, acquired from Mieke Zilverberg, Amsterdam (antiquities dealer and member of the IADAA) in the early 1990s.
Intact with a beautiful blue colour; mounted on a small perspex base.