Ancient Egyptian "Solar Barque" Steatite Ring
Ancient Egyptian black steatite ring dating from the New Kingdom, Dynasty 18-19 (circa 1550-1186 BCE). The carved face depicts the sun god Ra in his solar barque being worshipped by baboons, presumably Thoth, god of the moon and of wisdom and his advisor. A similar example can be found at the Art Institute of Chicago.
Ra, the sun god, created the world and all living things. He was one of the most important deities in the Egyptian pantheon, and was worshipped as the bringer of light, warmth, and life - often depicted as a man with the head of a falcon, wearing a solar disk on his head. He travelled across the sky each day in his solar barque, bringing light and warmth to the world and protecting it from darkness and chaos. At night, he descended into the underworld, where he battled and defeated the serpent of chaos, bringing order and stability to the universe.
Baboons were associated with the god Thoth, who was the god of wisdom, writing, magic, and the moon, setting up an interesting, multi-layered duality with Ra. Thoth was believed to have the ability to control time and measure the movements of the moon and stars, while Ra was associated with the sun and daytime. Ra represented the power and vitality of the sun, while Thoth represented the wisdom and magic of the moon. This duality between Ra and Thoth can be seen as a reflection of the ancient Egyptian belief in the importance of balance and harmony in the universe. The sun and the moon were seen as complementary forces that worked together to create a stable and ordered world. The duality between Ra and Thoth was not a conflict, but rather a necessary balance that allowed the world to function properly.
Here, the depiction of Ra and the baboons may be seen as a representation of this duality between the sun and the moon, power and wisdom, or light and darkness - these forces, and importantly their balance, forming a central part of the society that created and revered them.
Era: Ancient, circa 1550-1186 BCE
Ring size: 9 US or R 1/2 UK/AUS (approximate)
Head size: 3.4cm by 1.8cm
Condition: Good. Wear consistent with age including a notch at the back of the inner band where it's been worn on a chain or cord as an amulet.
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