Wednesday, July 20, 2022

Egyptian Silver: A New Dream Archaeology Assignment


In one scene in a dream last night, I have been given an object to deliver to a skinny, sketchy man I don't trust. I take it out of my bag and unwrap it. The object is flat, rectangular, silver, about the size and shape of a cigar cutter. It seems to be in two parts, with a cover that slides back. I notice at least three columns of Egyptian figures, one holding a staff of power and wearing a high crown. The figures look to be in the elongated Amarna style introduced under Akhenaten.
When I hold it up, the skinny man jumps back, face distorted in a rictus of terror. "Silver" I reassure him. Nope. He acts as if silver will scald him. Or whatever is under the cover. I don’t understand. I put the Egyptian object away carefully in my pocket.
On assignment: There was a lot more going on in my dream report. I'll just note where my initial Egyptian research took me. The Egyptians valued silver even more highly than gold though fewer examples have survived because of the corrosive effects of salt at the burial sites. The wealthy used silver for mirrors and certain amulets, including scarabs.
Nefertem was the deity most often embodied in silver statuettes. He is the god of the blue lotus. He is said to have been the first being to emerge from the blue lotus that grew on the mound that rose from the primal waters. In complementary myths of Memphis, he is placed in a divine family as the child of Ptah and Sekhmet.

He was both a deity of perfumes and healing, a lion-headed creator god and a potential sender of demon punishers and the Seven Arrows of Sekhmet. He was sometimes depicted as a child emerging from the blue lotus or an adult male crowned with the lotus. There is a bust in the Amarna style of the boy pharaoh Tutankhamun as Nefertem emerging from the lotus in the Cairo museum.

Photos: Top Silver scarab of Overseer Wah c 1900 bce; bottom standing statue of Nefertem with blue lotus crown, late period c 600-300 bce. Both in Metropolitan Museum of Art New York City. Photos in public domain.

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