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Amulet with Ourobouros (Snake with Tail in Mouth)
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Amulet with Ourobouros (Snake with Tail in Mouth)


Description Exhibitions Provenance Inscription Credit
Description This oval carnelian amulet was apparently injured by fire and was originally a pale yellow or flesh color. It is mounted in gold as a stick pin. The obverse depicts a ouroboros with its head at the top, enclosing a design. Directly below the head of the ouroboros is a small oval enclosing five stars (?) indiciated by small crosses. Below that are several magical characters and the letters HB. Below this is the main design, very uncertain. It depicts a table or couch on which rests a small mummy with its head bent up, or perhaps a chid in swaddling-bands. At the right is a serpent with horns, or perhaps a lion-headed serpent. At the left is what is apparently a serpent with a large head. The body of the snake is supported on the hind legs of some animal, possibly a dog. Below are two lines of characters with a few letters. At the bottom, what is perhaps a jackal is depicted running to the left. The reverse is plain.
Exhibitions
  • Early Christian and Byzantine Art. Baltimore Museum of Art, Baltimore. 1947.
Provenance Henry Walters, New York [date and mode of acquisition unknown]; Sadie Jones (Mrs. Henry Walters), New York, 1931, by inheritance; Mrs. Henry Walters Sale, Joseph Brummer, New York, 1942; Walters Art Museum, 1942, by purchase.
Inscriptions [Inscription] Below stars: magical characters and HB; [Inscription] Below the main design, two lines of characters and some letters
Credit Museum purchase [formerly part of the Walters Collection], 1942

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Creator
Period
4th-6th century
Medium
pale yellow carnelian, gold
(Precious Stones & Gems)
Accession Number
42.870
Measurements
H: 1 1/16 x W: 3/4 x D: 3/16 in. (2.7 x 1.9 x 0.5 cm)
Location Within Museum
Not On View

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