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400 – 650AD
Size: 4cm high, 2.5cm wide, 4cm deep - 1¾ ins high, 1 ins wide, 1¾ ins deep
Ex English Private collection
The Christians of Egypt found protection in the symbols of their ancestors. The Ankh, the ancient symbol of life was adapted as a secret symbol of Christ. The cross was a Roman symbol of shameful death, but with the ankh became the new Christian symbol assuring the survival of the ancient hieroglyph.
The deity represented on this plaque dancing and wearing a tunic is perhaps Isis or Demeter who was the goddess of the earth’s fertility and of bountiful harvests. As divine mother she was protectress of regeneration, and her cult was gradually assimilated into the Christian worship of the Madonna.