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This miraculously intact beaded necklace with hippopotamus amulets is made from faience, a sacred Egyptian material. Faience is a synthetic bluish glaze made from various materials and is associated with rebirth. It's been applied to a variety of ceremonial objects as well as architectural elements.Riccardelli, Carolyn. “Egyptian Faience: Technology and Production.” The Metropolitan Museum of Art, hippopotamus was a creature both feared and revered by ancient Egyptians. Male and female hippos are present on the necklace, with the female representing the goddess Taweret. Known as ‘the Great One,’ Taweret protected pregnant women and children. She is depicted as a hippo with a swollen belly, hanging breasts, the limbs of a lion, and the backside of a crocodile. The male hippos may represent Seth, a deity of chaos and destruction. It would not have been uncharacteristic to present duality via opposing figures, however the male figurines may simply serve as mates. Taweret figures have also been excavated from burial sites further signifying her role in rebirth.Reilly, Candace A. "Taweret: An Untraditional Egyptian Goddess." Inquiries Journal/Student Pulse, vol. 3, no. 08, 2011,

Brooklyn Museum Object Description

Single strand faience necklace. In center single dark blue glazed Thueris amulet; on each side, separated by groups of ten small, blue and blue-green glazed disk beads, six smaller Thueris amulets in light and dark blue, green and purple (?) glaze. At each end a larger group of the same disk beads. Condition: Glaze on some amulets slightly worn. Otherwise intact.

In Egyptian art, one symbol could represent both a trait and its opposite. The hippopotamus could represent great danger and chaos or, alternatively, fertility and protection in childbirth. The statuette of a male hippopotamus could represent the god Seth, who embodied danger, chaos, and disorder in the world. Yet the rare limestone statuette of hippopotami mating perhaps served as a ...

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