Egyptian, Classical, Ancient Near Eastern Art
On View: Funerary Gallery 2, 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. 664-30 B.C.E.
Late Period to Ptolemaic Period
H: 2.7 cm, H. of base: c. 0.5 cm; length 4.6 cm, L. of fig. 4.5 cm, L. of ears: 2.2 cm; width 5.0 cm (show scale)
Gift of Mr. and Mrs. Carl L. Selden through The Roebling Society
One green glazed faience amulet of a rabbit crouching on a base rounded in the back; with large ears extending back from the head and resting on an attachment to the back. Attachment is pierced horizontally for suspension.
Hare Amulet, ca. 664-30 B.C.E. Faience, H: 2.7 cm, H. of base: c. 0.5 cm; length 4.6 cm, L. of fig. 4.5 cm, L. of ears: 2.2 cm; width 5.0 cm. Brooklyn Museum, Gift of Mr. and Mrs. Carl L. Selden through The Roebling Society, 72.38. Creative Commons-BY (Photo: Brooklyn Museum, 72.38_threequarter_left_PS2.jpg)
threequarter, 72.38_threequarter_left_PS2.jpg. Brooklyn Museum photograph, 2009
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What is the meaning of the rabbit?
Rabbits were common animals in the Ancient Egyptian desert. This particular object was an amulet worn around the neck that suggests fertility. Have you noticed that the Ancient Egyptian made many images of the animals from their environment?
Yes, we just thought about that!