Ancient Egyptian vase in the shape of a duck, made from polychrome faience. Artist unknown; 3rd cent. BCE (Ptolemaic period). Thought to come from Alexandria; now in the Walters Art Museum, Baltimore. Photo credit: Walters Art Museum.
Gold Bracelet with Deities Representing Fertility and Good Fortune
Romano-Egyptian, 1st century B.C.–A.D. 1st century
Powerful talismans of fertility and good destiny are woven into this
rich golden composition. The bodies of two snakes intertwine to form a
Herakles knot, the centerpiece of this bracelet. The snake on the left
represents Agathodaimon, and the cobra on the right Terenouthis, two
agrarian/fertility deities associated with Serapis and Isis,
respectively. On the platform between them stand two goddesses,
Isis-Tyche (or Isis-Fortuna), a deity closely associated with
Alexandria, and the nude Aphrodite.
Possibly from Heliopolis, Egypt, ca. 1850–1640 B.C.
(Middle Kingdom, Dynasty 12-13)
Already in the Early Dynastic Period, Egyptians deposited faience
figurines of wild animals in temple precincts. These figurines were
reintroduced in the Twelfth Dynasty, but as a component of burial
equipment and with new species added to the repertoire. The controlled
representation of desert animals may have assured the Egyptians of
eternal safety, though they also likely had symbolic meanings.