Small lentoid bead with baboon
Measurement: 1.1 x .8 x 2.5 cm
Material/colour: cream-coloured glazed steatite.
Technique: carved stone; pierced longitudinally.
Condition: crackling of glaze on top; small chip from edge near paddle.
Date: Twenty-sixth Dynasty
Provenance: Golden Chariot; Collection of Gustav Jecquier, reportedly from Sakkara.
Identification and Interpretation: Image of ape rowing celestial barque with Re above.
Workmanship: smooth and well made bead with charming baboon very skillfully carved on one side.
Function and Meaning: In Ancient Egyptian mythology, baboons rose early to greet the rising Sun. They figure prominently in the vignette from the Book of Going Forth by Day incorrectly labeled Spell 16, and in other Underworld texts. This monkey holds a paddle in his two hands and stands on his hind legs. Above him is the disk of the sun.
Lack of wear suggests it was strung into bead net or necklace for a mummy.
Comments: Main items of this collection are from Sakkara. Therefore this bead may be associated with the catacombs of the baboons. Baboons were, however, mummified and buried in catacombs in many other places as well.