Egyptian Faience Hedgehog
Late New Kingdom-Third Intermediate Period, circa 1000 BC
Height: 1.5 cm
Provenance: Carl Leonhardt Burckhardt (1902-1965) and thence by descent 17881
This small wonder is one of a more quotidian variety. Faience hedgehog amulets are not extraordinarily rare, nor are they crafted from precious materials. The exquisite craftsmanship, the precision of the rendered undercut body and legs, and the pierced ears, which would most likely have held gold earrings, make this hedgehog ‘scaraboid’ one of the finest extant examples of its kind. The creature would have almost certainly acted as the bezel on a gold swivel ring.
Although the hedgehog was never connected to a deity, its ability to survive in the desert uplands, the land of death, led to it becoming a symbol of regeneration. its ability to defend itself by rolling into a prickly curled-up ball made it an apposite choice for a protective amulet.