The Eye of Horus…
In some ways this is a follow on from my thoughts on ‘Synchronisity’
When studying for my degree I researched the making of Ancient Egyptian Faience.
Faience is a ceramic that has no clay content, being; Quartz, calcium carbonate, salt and a binder plus a trace element of a metallic oxide, usually copper to give it atypical turquoise colour.
The first use of faience, circa 5000 BCE, was as a glaze on Steatite (soapstone) this being very soft rock, it is easy to carve but not very durable.
However, if you glaze soapstone with faience and fire it to about 900/1000 degrees the surface becomes very hard.
my first attempt at replicating this process was to carve my own ‘Eye of Horus’ and to make up a faience glaze but instead of copper I used manganese carbonate as the oxide.
I was pleased with the result, seen here mounted on a piece of ironstone.
Flushed with this success I began to carve a larger piece, loosely based on a Nubian head, as my sort of alter ego for the project.
With this head I decided to carve with flint microliths, when it was finished it was glazed in the same manner as before.
Having made these pieces I thought that I should find out about the myth of Horus and why his eye was venerated?
The Wadjet or Ujat, meaning “Whole One” otherwise known as ‘The Eye of Horus’ was seen as a powerful symbol of protection.
The ancient myth described a battle between the gods; Horus and Seth in which Horus´ eye was torn out and Seth lost his testicles! Seth and Horus had a long history of one-upsmanship and some pretty awkward sexual tensions. Seth, who had long wanted to be the chief god of the pantheon, tried to assert his dominance over Horus by having sex with him, thus taking the manly or dominant position. This story signifies that it was not homosexual relations themselves that were looked upon negatively but it was the partner in the “passive” role who was lessened and disdained.
After the battle the god Thoth magically restored Horus´ eye, at which point he was given the name “Wadjet” meaning whole or healthy. In this myth it is specifically stated that it is Horus´ left eye which has been torn out. The myth became related to the waxing and waning of the moon during which the moon appears to have been torn out of the sky before being restored once every lunar month.
The synchronicity, if such it is was, when I carved my Nubian head, not knowing this story, is why I have carved the left eye of my Nubian as if it were closed and swollen – spooky? of just race memory at work!)
Wilton June 2017