Egypt in South Africa


Faïence was often made from quartz, possibly to mimic expensive turquoise or lapis lazuli. Quartz was also seen as having ‘magical properties’ because of its colour as a manifestation of light. The goddess of birth, Hathor, was named the ‘lady of quartz’. Two objects within Iziko’s collection – a chalice in the shape of a blue lotus flower and a long cylindrical vase with udjat eyes and an Egyptian cobra are prime examples of this.
The origin of the chalice is unknown; however it is thought to date from the 21st-22nd Dynasties (1069-715 BCE). The lotus is a water lily and an Egyptian symbol of Upper Egypt (the south) and the god Nefertem.
Both the udjat and cobra (uraeus) are common Egyptian symbols. The udjat, known as the healing eye of Horus, was a symbol of protection. The Egyptian cobra is the heraldic symbol of Lower Egypt (the north) and is also linked to the god Ra. Often the uraeus (rearing cobra) formed part of the crown of the pharaoh.



A chalice in the shape of a blue Lotus flower, possibly from the 21st - 22nd Dynasty.