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Home > Auctions > 21st February 2023 > Gnostic Epigraphic Gemstone

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LOT 0093

GBP (£) 300 - 400
EUR (€) 340 - 450
USD ($) 370 - 490

Bid History: 1   |   Current bid: £180 (+bp*)

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Bid History: 1   |   Current bid: £180
1/2 in. (1.25 grams, 14 mm).

An engraved gemstone with a stylised image of Harpocrates, depicted as a naked child with a finger raised on his mouth, seated on a lotus flower in a boat, groups of wild animals arranged in threes surrounding; the other side with a magic inscription in Greek letters 'I, E, A, P, Φ, K, Ο, Γ'.

Acquired before 1988.
Ex family collection, by descent, Geneva.

See Sfameni, C., 'Magic in Late Antiquity: the evidence of magical gems' in Late Antique Archaeology, Volume: 6 Issues: 1, 2010, pp.435-473, fig.6, for a gem intaglio with similar feature.

Egyptian deities are often represented on magical gems. One of the most interesting figures is the image of Harpocrates seated on a lotus flower, called ‘the young sun’. This figure had a solar nature and a protective function.