Egypt, c. 600 B.C .E.
The cult of Osiris, a chief god of the underworld in Ancient Egypt, gained in importance during the New Kingdom. The use of bronze for figure subjects is comparatively rare before the Late Dynastic Period. The majority of these bronze figurines of gods, sacred animals, and emblems date primarily from the Saite and Ptolemaic Periods, c. 663-525 B.C.E. The lost wax (cire-perdue) technique was used, and small objects could be cast solid. The original throne is missing, and has been replaced with a wood copy.
Bibliography: Newberry, John, Condition report (document file); James, T.G.H., An Introduction to Ancient Egypt; Hamilton-Paterson, James and Carol Andrews, Mummies: Death and Life in Ancient Egypt; Andrews, Carol, Egyptian Mummies.
Shabti (Ushabti, Shawabti)
Egypt, n. d.
This corroded, and probably unfinished, figure is a typical Shabti figure from the New Kingdom or Late Dynastic Period of Egypt. These figures could be made from glazed composition, wood, stone, pottery, bronze, wax or glass. They were placed in the burial chamber and were often inscribed with an offering prayer. The original symbolism is not entirely clear, but they were sometimes called "ushabtis" or "Answerers." By the early New Kingdom, they were considered the servants of the deceased, and could be called upon to perform any of the tasks required of the deceased in the underworld. Chapter 6 of the Book of the Coming Forth by Day says, "O shabti, if the deceased is called upon to do any of the work required there in the necropolis at any time...you shall say "Here I am. I will do it." Tombs of the wealthy would have a different figure for each day of the year, or ones dedicated to specific tasks.
Bibliography: James, T.G.H., An Introduction to Ancient Egypt; Hamilton-Paterson, James and Carol Andrews, Mummies: Death and Life in Ancient Egypt; Andrews, Carol, Egyptian Mummies.
Egypt, c. 1085-525 B.C.E.
Amulets and scarabs were sometimes placed in the coffin or the funeral chamber of the deceased, but were usually wrapped with the mummy when it was being bandaged. X-rays of mummies show different amulets scattered about the body, each intended for a specific purpose. These amulets could vary in size and material from which they were made. Some are of glazed composition, stone (including carnelian, hematite, obsidian, red jasper, and lapis lazuli), and glass. Some shapes are associated with specific gods or myths. The Maltwood Collection has five amulets in the shape of a "Djed" pillar. This word meant to be immovable. Thus, it symbolized stability, but was also associated with the god of the underworld, Osiris. It is possible it represented the god's stylized backbone and ribs.
Two of the amulets represent the Sekhmet, the lion-headed goddess of destruction and retribution. Her image can also be seen in the middle of the broken amulet of the usekh collar.
The wadj or uatch amulet is a common motif, and represents a papyrus plant. As the papyrus was green, full of sap and promise of new life, this amulet was meant to grant the deceased eternal youth.
The Maltwood Collection has two scarab amulets. A large heart scarab was one of the most important of the amulets, but many samll scarabs of every material imaginable and unconnected with the heart were also placed on the mummies. This was a symbol of Re, the sun god who would be reborn each morning. The scarab symbolized new life or resurrection; the dung beetle, after which the amulet was modelled, laid its eggs in a ball of dung which it rolled between its legs until the baby beetles hatched out.
The Udjat, or "Eye of Horus" represented the eye of a falcon. It refered to the mythological struggle between Horus, who protected the fertile Nile Valley, and Seth, the god of the arid desert. During the struggle, the Horus' left eye was plucked out, but later restored, thus "udjat" means "that which is whole or sound." The amulet ensures the body of the deceased will be brought back to life, and made whole. These are made of precious metals, glazed composition, stone, glass, wood, bone, or combinations of these materials.
Small figures of gods and goddess were also used as amulets. They could be round or in profile, and are made of glazed composition, glass, gilded wood, plaster, or gold. Figures connected with legends of Osiris were especially popular, such as one in the Maltwood Collection which shows Isis suckling Horus (or the pharaoh as Horus).
Other amulets gained their shape from hieroglyphs or functional tools, both of which could symbolize concepts. The shen seal, for example, represented eternity, because the hieroglyph for that word had the same shape. Amulets modelled after workmen's tools represented concepts related to the tool's use in life: a mason's plummet guaranteed perpetual equilibrium, and the carpenter's square eternal rectitude.
How and when the Maltwoods acquired these amulets is not known.
Bibliography: James, T.G.H., An Introduction to Ancient Egypt; Hamilton-Paterson, James and Carol Andrews, Mummies: Death and Life in Ancient Egypt; Andrews, Carol, Egyptian Mummies
Peru, c. 800 - 900
Painted white features decorate this Mochica owl vessel with a stirrup spout . Possibly from the same lot as several objects currently displayed in the foyer of the University Centre, it was made specifically for burial with the deceased in order to provide sustenance in the next world. Similar objects were made for use during life. Ropes could be strung through the stirrup handle. These vessels held water or cocoa leaf and lime. Formerly in the collection of Jim Kern, this was one of the items collected by the his father in the 1920's when he was living in Peru.
Bibliography: Correspondence (Document File)