Egypt, Late Dynastic to Romano-Egyptian Period, ca. 664 BCE to 2nd century CE. An adorable pendant of a miniature form, hand-carved from rich vermilion-hued jasper, depicting a petite fly. The insect has a tapered triangular body, a pair of tab-shaped wings, and a lobed head with a suspension hole drilled through the eyes. An attractive example of Egyptian zoomorphic artistry! Size: 0.5" L x 0.4" W (1.3 cm x 1 cm).
According to scholar Dorothea Arnold, "The ancient Egyptians…seemed to have held flies in high esteem, presumably because of this insect's powers of fast reaction and indomitable, insistent presence…[though] earlier fly amulets may have also served to ward off these annoying insects." (Arnold, Dorothea. "An Egyptian Bestiary." The Metropolitan Museum of Art Bulletin, Spring 1995, Vol. LII, no. 4, p. 48)
Provenance: private Orange County, California, USA collection; ex-Phillip Mitry collection, noted dealer in Cairo, Egypt until about 1951 when he emigrated to the United States
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Minor nicks to wings, otherwise intact and very good. Light earthen deposits throughout.