Anubis

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Acquired in 1869 (the spelunker thinks)

artist
Unknown
attributions_note
bibliography
List of Objects in the Art Division, South Kensington, Acquired During the Year 1869, Arranged According to the Dates of Acquisition. London : Printed by George E. Eyre and William Spottiswoode for H.M.S.O. p. 127. Machell Cox, E., Victoria & Albert Museum Catalogue of Engraved Gems. London, Typescript, 1935, Part 1, p.18.
collection_code
SCP
credit
Bequeathed by the Rev. Chauncey Hare Townsend
date_end
0200-12-31
date_start
0200-01-01
date_text
200 (made)
descriptive_line
Intaglio depicting the god Anubis, oval haematite; Egypt, about 200.
dimensions
Height: 18 mm, Width: 14 mm
edition_number
event_text
exhibition_history
gallery
Sculpture, room 111
historical_context_note
Engraved gemstones of all dates were widely collected in Italy in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. Many were brought back by British Grand Tourists, and important collections were formed.
historical_significance
history_note
This gem was part of the collection of the Reverend Chauncy Hare Townshend (1798-1868), who bequeathed his important collection to the South Kensington Museum in 1869. Although the gemstone collection is not as comprehensive as that found at the Natural History Museum in London, it is of particular historic interest as its formation pre-dates the development of many synthetic stones and artificial enhancements. All the stones were mounted as rings before they came to the Museum. Some are held in the Sculpture Section, other more elaborately mounted ones in the Metalwork Section. As well as being a clergyman, collector and dillettante, the Reverend Townshend wrote poetry. He met Robert Southey in 1815 and through him the Wordsworths, the Coleridges and John Clare. He was a friend of Charles Dickens and dedicatee of his novel 'Great Expectations'. Historical significance: This intaglio can be categorised as a Gnostic magical amulet. Martin Henig (Classical Gems. Anicent and Modern Intaglios and Cameos in the Fitzwilliam Museum, Cambridge, Cambridge, 1994, pp. 218-20) defines the classification as referring often to 'those intaglios which combine crude renderings of Egypitian or Egyptianizing deities with inscriptions of a mysterious and sometimes meangingless nature'. There would have been magical significance both in the image and inscription, and in the material itself. Amulets were often carried and worn, and their perceived power was twofold. On one hand the deities and inscriptions depicted illustrate the search for Gnosis. Gnostic groups broke with the Christian church in the second century and sought enlightenment, and in their symbolism and imagery used pre-Christian ingredients. On the other hand, the use of a particular medium for the engraving would have been thought to bring properties which could influence health.
id
82236
label
last_checked
2014-08-30T00:55:12.000Z
last_processed
2014-08-30T00:55:12.000Z
latitude
26.69636
location
Sculpture, room 111, case 2, shelf 3
longitude
30.246469
marks
Inscription on reverse
materials
gold, magnetite, haematite
materials_techniques
Engraved gemstone
museum_number
1821-1869
museum_number_token
18211869
object_number
O106546
object_type
Intaglio
on_display
1
original_currency
original_price
physical_description
Vertical oval two-sided intaglio. Dark green haematite. Depicting the god Anubis, with an inscription on the reverse. Anubis stands in profile to the left, holding a staff in his left hand, his right hand raised in a beckoning gesture. Set as a ring, the intaglio in a gold swivel mount.
place
Egypt
primary_image_id
production_note
production_type
public_access_description
The art of engraving gemstones can be traced back to ancient Greece in the 8th century BC and earlier. Techniques passed down to the Egyptians and then to the Romans. There were major revivals of interest in engraved gems in Europe during the Byantine era, the Middle Ages, the Renaissance, and again in the 18th and 19th centuries. At each stage cameos and intaglios, these skillful carvings on a minute scale, were much prized and collected, sometimes as symbols of power mounted in jewelled settings, sometimes as small objects for private devotion or enjoyment. This intaglio can be categorised as a Gnostic magical amulet. Martin Henig (in his Classical Gems. Ancient and Modern Intaglios and Cameos in the Fitzwilliam Museum, Cambridge, Cambridge, 1994, pp. 218-20) defines the classification as referring often to 'those intaglios which combine crude renderings of Egypitian or Egyptianizing deities with inscriptions of a mysterious and sometimes meangingless nature'. There would have been magical significance both in the image and inscription, and in the material itself. Amulets were often carried and worn, and their perceived power was twofold. On one hand the deities and inscriptions depicted illustrate the search for Gnosis. Gnostic groups broke with the Christian church in the second century and sought enlightenment, and in their symbolism and imagery used pre-Christian ingredients. On the other hand, the use of a particular medium for the engraving would have been thought to bring properties which could influence health.
related_museum_numbers
rights
3
shape
site_code
VA
slug
anubis-intaglio-unknown
sys_updated
2013-08-17T00:00:00.000Z
techniques
gem engraving
title
Anubis
updated
vanda_exhibition_history
year_end
200
year_start
200