715-330 B.C. Egyptian Faience - Apis Bull Amulet
- Country: Egypt
- Period: Late (715-330 B.C.)
- Type: Egyptian Artifact - Apis Bull Amulet
- Composition: Stone
- Mounted Length: 1.5" (3.8cm)
Apis was highly regarded and considered to be the most important bull deity of ancient Egypt. Worship of the Apis bull is recorded as early as the First Dynasty in ceremonies known as The Running of Apis. It is thought that Apis may be the first god of Egypt or, at least, among the first animals associated with divinity and eternity.
Although there are many recognized bovine deities in ancient Egypt, Apis is considered to be the most significant because he represented the core cultural values and understanding of all Egyptians. Other bovine deities such as Bat, Buchis, Hesat, Hathor, Mnevis, and the Bull of the West would never resonate as the incarnated deit of the Apis bull; Apis represented eternity itself and the harmonious balance of the universe.
Apis is depicted throughout Egypt's history as a striding bull, usually with a solar disc and uraeus between its horns. In the late period he is sometimes depicted as a man with the head of a bull, and in Roman Egypt, this is the most popular representation of the god.
In the Early Dynastic Period, The Running of Apis was performed to fertilize the earth. In engravings the bull is depicting wearing the menat, the necklace / collar sacred to Hathor. It is unclear where Apis ran during the ceremony, but it was most likely in the temple precinct at Memphis (the capital of Egypt at the time) which would symbolically fertilize all the land.
After a period of 25 years, if the bull suffered no disease or accident, it was ceremonially killed. Parts of the animal were eaten by the priests and the carcass was taken to a special part of the temple to be embalmed. A state of mourning was decreed during which the bull's body was mummified with the same care given to kings and nobles. Following mummification the bull was conveyed along the sacred way from Memphis to the necropolis at Saqqara where it was buried in the Serapeum, a subterranean series of chamber dug for this purpose by Khaemweset, the fourth son of Ramesses II. The bull's death was not considered to be the end of its life but rather a moment of transition from one state to another and the ceremony which involved its killing was viewed as transformation not slaughter.
*Artifact condition is based on our professional opinion. Pictures are representative of the artifact that you will receive, actual artifact may differ slightly*