Designed as a rectangular-shaped unpolished gold plaque, repoussé or embossed with an anthropomorphic depiction of the ancient Egyptian god Apis in profile, 1970s, maker's mark for Georges Lenfant and French...
Designed as a rectangular-shaped unpolished gold plaque, repoussé or embossed with an anthropomorphic depiction of the ancient Egyptian god Apis in profile, 1970s, maker's mark for Georges Lenfant and French assay marks for gold. Length: 6.5cm, width: 2.85cm. Length with loop: 6.7cm. Weight: 19.15 grams
Note: Our association with the image of a bull as a symbol of strength and fertility is quite natural considering their physical attributes and has its roots in Ancient Egyptian civilisation. There were numerous bull cults in Ancient Egypt, indeed the bull is thought to have been one of the first animals to be elevated to divine status, however Apis was the most highly regarded of these deities. As well as fertility/virility, he also represented eternity and the harmonious balance of the universe. Apis was almost always associated with the king of Egypt, representing his strength and vitality (in anthropomorphic form this was often represented by a 'was' or monarch's staff).
Beyond his symbolic significance and representation in art, the Apis bull in its physical bovine manifestation was an important oracle. The sacred black and white Apis bull was chosen according to very strict physical attributes and housed in Memphis with its own court and retinue who studied its movements and interpreted them as prophetic omens.
Whilst Apis is more commonly depicted as a bull, usually with a solar disc (and often also Uraeus the sacred serpent), in the Late Period of Ancient Egypt (525 - 332 BC) he was sometimes depicted with a human body and a bull's head like this pendant, this became the preferred depiction of the Ptolemaic Period (323-30 BC) in the Roman Egyptian period.