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Published Egyptian Ptolemaic Glass Ba Bird Applique

Ancient Egypt, Ptolemaic, ca. 3rd to 1st century BCE. An Egyptian cast glass inlay/applique depicting a human-headed Ba Bird - the body executed in opaque cornflower blue glass and the body executed in opaque yellow-orange - perhaps in an attempt to simulate gold. The piece displays wonderful detailing of the bird's wings, plumage, legs, and features. In Egyptian visual culture, the Ba is oftentimes depicted as a winged Ba-bird symbolizing the ascension of the soul following death. The Egyptian concept of the Ba involves a free soul that may exist independently from the physical body. Hence, it leaves and reunites with the body when it wishes. Traditionally, the Ba-bird is presented in the vicinity of the mummy - other times it is shown entering or leaving the tomb. In addition, the Ba-bird was understood as the immutable essece of the deceased's soul, and loved ones would leave provisions in burial chambers so that the Ba-bird would be encouraged to visit its body regularly. Size: 1.25" W x 1.2" H (3.2 cm x 3 cm); 2.625" H (6.7 cm) on included custom stand.

Published in "Solid Liquid: Greek, Roman, Byzantine and Islamic Glass." Fortuna Fine Arts, Ltd., New York, 1999, p. 26, fig. 26.

Condition: Some losses to peripheries as shown, but the falcon imagery is still discernible. Expected surface wear, but many vivid details. Earthen and mineral deposits grace the surface as well.

Provenance: private East Coast, USA collection; ex-William Froelich collection, New York, USA, acquired in the 1970s

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