Egyptian, Classical, Ancient Near Eastern Art
On View: Temples and Tombs, Martha A. and Robert S. Rubin Gallery, 3rd Floor
Living persons wore only one or a few amulets at a time, but mummies usually bear many amulets. The Ma’at amulet (no. 2) and heart scarabs (nos. 1, 3, 11), which occurred in many forms, guaranteed a successful judgment of the dead. The amulets of a hand (no. 8), lungs and a windpipe (no. 12), and wadjet-eyes (i.e., “healthy” eyes; no. 4) protected those parts of the body and also had connotations of resurrection and the unity or integrity of the mummy. The enigmatic aper amulet (no. 13) takes the form of the hieroglyph meaning “to be equipped,” perhaps in reference to the mummy’s preparation. The two crowns (nos. 5, 6) were symbols of power. The Heh insignia (no. 7), like the popular ankh-sign, denoted eternal life. Among the living, the frog (no. 9) and possibly also the hare (no. 10) suggested fertility. The amulets of the Four Sons of Horus (no. 15) perhaps served, as they did with canopic jars, to protect various organs of the body.
ca. 1539-1295 B.C.E.
Charles Edwin Wilbour Fund
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Ma’at Amulet, ca. 1539-1295 B.C.E. Lapis lazuli, 15/16 x 1/2 in. (2.4 x 1.2 cm). Brooklyn Museum, Charles Edwin Wilbour Fund, 08.480.109. Creative Commons-BY (Photo: Brooklyn Museum, CUR.08.480.109_wwgA-3.jpg)
installation, West Wing gallery A-3 installation, CUR.08.480.109_wwgA-3.jpg
. Brooklyn Museum photograph, 2005
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