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Djed-pillar Amulet (Backbone of Osiris)

Egyptian, Classical, Ancient Near Eastern Art

The djed-pillar can perhaps be understood as the backbone of Osiris, or that of the deceased associated with him. The Egyptians recognized the importance of the spine and saw it as a symbol that kept Osiris, the resurrected god, intact and able to function. Spell 151e of the Book of the Dead refers to the djed-pillar amulet as “the magical protection of Osiris,” and spell 155 was recited over this amulet as it was placed on the throat of a mummy. As a hieroglyph, the djed-pillar denotes the more abstract concepts of stability, endurance, and rejuvenation.
MEDIUM Faience
  • Place Made: Egypt
  • DATES 664–343 B.C.E.
    DYNASTY Dynasty 26 to Dynasty 30
    PERIOD Late Period
    DIMENSIONS 3 13/16 x 1 7/16 x 9/16 in. (9.7 x 3.6 x 1.5 cm)  (show scale)
    CREDIT LINE Charles Edwin Wilbour Fund
    CATALOGUE DESCRIPTION Pale green-glazed faience amulet in the form of a Djed pillar. The back slab is not pierced for suspension. Condition: Right hand side of upper cross bar chipped.
    MUSEUM LOCATION This item is not on view
    CAPTION Djed-pillar Amulet (Backbone of Osiris), 664–343 B.C.E. Faience, 3 13/16 x 1 7/16 x 9/16 in. (9.7 x 3.6 x 1.5 cm). Brooklyn Museum, Charles Edwin Wilbour Fund, 37.1306E. Creative Commons-BY (Photo: Brooklyn Museum, 37.1306E_SL1.jpg)
    IMAGE overall, 37.1306E_SL1.jpg. Brooklyn Museum photograph
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    RIGHTS STATEMENT Creative Commons-BY
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