Circa: 664 BC to 30 BC
Dimensions: .25" (0.6cm) high x .4" (1.0cm) wide
Collection: Egyptian Antiquities
Style: Late Dynastic/Ptolemaic Period
The first examples of amulets appeared in Ancient Egypt as early as 4000 B.C. Believed to possess magical powers that protected the wearer or bestowed upon the properties they symbolized, amulets were worn both by the living as well as the dead. Throughout their evolution, talismans were crafted from a variety of materials including precious metals such as gold and silver, semiprecious stone like jasper and carnelian, as well as other more affordable glazed compositions such as faience. The particular powers of an individual amulet were based upon its specific shape, although the material and even the color of the charm could affect its magical abilities. While many of the amulets created to be worn by the living could also be worn after death, there also existed a specific group of charms that were made specifically to be placed upon the mummified remains of the deceased. All together, amulets represent an important class of Ancient Egyptian art that furthers our understanding of their complex religious beliefs.
The Ancient Egyptians believed the wedjat eye was the most powerful protection against evil. Ever-vigilant against bad luck and misfortune, the symbolic eye of the god Horus was worn by king and peasant alike. Though the eye was sometimes fashioned in gold and precious stones, it was thought to be at its most powerful when colored blue. The tradition of blue amulets guarding against harm is a very ancient one. Throughout the Mediterranean world today, one sees beads and talismans of bright blue, which are meant to avert the evil eye of bad luck. In Egypt, peasants dip the palm of their hands in blue paint and press their palms against the sides of their houses. When the Egyptian Empire was at its glorious height, this faience eye of the god Horus was worn by some long-forgotten person to bring good fortune and luck. Much has changed in the world since then, but the power of this talisman remains strong and benevolent as always. - (CK.0233)