Fragment of "Magic Knife"
Used for magical protection, objects like this one are today commonly called “knives” because of their shape. The feline head on the end of this one draws upon the animal’s protective qualities. An early representation of the god Bes, or a Bes-like deity, incised on the knife enhances its magical potency.
Ancient Egyptians placed knives like this one on the stomachs of pregnant women during childbirth and on newborns to repel demons and disease. In the tomb, such knives provided protection for the deceased.
- Medium: Frit
- Place Made: Egypt
- Dates: ca. 1759-after 1630 B.C.E.
- Dynasty: XIII Dynasty
- Period: Middle Kingdom
- Dimensions: 1 3/8 x 3 9/16 in. (3.5 x 9 cm) (show scale)
- Collections:Egyptian, Classical, Ancient Near Eastern Art
- Museum Location: This item is on view in Egypt Reborn: Art for Eternity, Special Exhibitions, Egyptian Galleries, 3rd Floor
- Accession Number: 16.580.145
- Credit Line: Gift of Evangeline Wilbour Blashfield, Theodora Wilbour, and Victor Wilbour honoring the wishes of their mother, Charlotte Beebe Wilbour, as a memorial to their father, Charles Edwin Wilbour
- Rights Statement: Creative Commons-BY
- Caption: Fragment of "Magic Knife," ca. 1759-after 1630 B.C.E. Frit, 1 3/8 x 3 9/16 in. (3.5 x 9 cm). Brooklyn Museum, Gift of Evangeline Wilbour Blashfield, Theodora Wilbour, and Victor Wilbour honoring the wishes of their mother, Charlotte Beebe Wilbour, as a memorial to their father, Charles Edwin Wilbour , 16.580.145. Creative Commons-BY
- Catalogue Description: Fragment of magic wand in deep blue frit. End with lion’s head in relief on both sides; shaft incised on one side with human legs supporting a vase and Bes holding serpents; on other, lion’s legs supporting jackal-head and tail and portion of body of Sebek-crocodile on stand. Condition: Fragment. Some chips in preserved portion. Glaze has lost luster but preserved lapis-lazuli color.
- Record Completeness: Best (84%)