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ID number:  ECM 637
Named collection:  The Eton Myers Collection
Title / Object name:  Beeswax Ram Figurine
Object type:  Figurine
Culture:  Egyptian
Date made:  Late Period (ca. 664-332 BCE)
Collector:  Myers, William Joseph
Materials:  Beeswax
Measurements:  overall: 5.50 cm x 6.10 cm x 1.90 cm (H x W x D)
Provenance:  Unknown

Figure of a divine ram, modelled in wax, on rectangular base

Bibliography:  For more information about the use of beeswax in ancient Egypt, see
Z. Shoosmith 2016 'Life Through Wax: Beeswax in ancient Egypt' in S. Boonstra (ed.) Objects Come to Life Virtual Exhibition, Birmingham Egyptology.

Notes:  The curved horns and 'fluffy' texture of the ram shown here suggests that it represents the god Amun. In his form as a ram, Amun could represent fertility, connecting to the life-giving properties associated with wax. The choice of beeswax as a material for the model could also refer to the solar aspect of Amun in his form as Amun-Re, adding further connotations of life and rebirth through solar symbolism.

Beeswax in ancient Egypt was associated with life. It was easy to sculpt, allowing an individual to mimic the god Khnum, who made life on a potter's wheel. Beeswax was also associated with the solar god Re whose tears were said to have turned into the first bees. The life-giving symbolism of beeswax made it useful to help the dead into the afterlife. Amulets such as scarabs and ankhs were sometimes made of wax. Mummy portraits could also be given life-like textures with beeswax and metal sculptures could be made more detailed through 'lost wax casting'. Models made with wax could be used when vitality was needed either to help or harm a person. Destroying a model enemy was seen to destroy the threat of an actual enemy. A wax model could also encourage healing or aid rebirth into the afterlife. Consequently wax models could be used in a wide range of circumstances and were common in Egyptian society.

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Myers, William Joseph
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