Egyptian Amulets

An amulet is a small charm worn to afford its owner magical protection, or to convey certain qualities.

Commemorative scarab amulet of Amenhotep III, c. 1390–1352 BC. Metropolitan Museum of Art

Attested from the Badarian period onward, amulets were produced both for the living and the dead. Particular amulets were placed at specific places in the mummy wrappings. The heart scarab was a specialized form of amulet to protect the heart of the deceased in the afterlife.

Amulets were made from a wide variety of materials, including faience, glass and precious stones and in a wide variety of forms. They might depict sacred objects, animals or hieroglyphs. From the New Kingdom onward, deities, especially household deities such as Bes and Taweret, were popular subjects for amulets.

Scarabs

The protective amulet for the heart was in the form of the scarab beetle, the manifestation of the creator and solar deity Khepri. It was a symbol of new life and resurrection.

Scarab amulets, c. 1981–1802 BC. Metropolitan Museum of Art.

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