and jewelry that incorporated amuletic elements were an essential adornment worn by ancient Egyptians at every level of society, both in life and in the hereafter; even sacred animals wore them. Royalty, however, were rarely depicted wearing individual amulets; they wore amuletic forms that had been incorporated into jewelry, such as pectorals, bracelets, or bangles.
Three of the four words translated as “amulet” came from verbs meaning “to guard” or “to protect,” confirming that the primary purpose of these personal ornaments was to provide magical protection, although in many instances the wearer clearly hoped to be endowed, in addition, with magical powers or capabilities. A fourth word meant essentially “well-being.”
The amulet's shape, the material from which it was made, and its color were crucial to its meaning. Many types of material—precious metal, semiprecious stones, glazed composition (a sand core with a vitreous alkaline glaze), glass, and organic matter—were employed in the production of amulets, and most had an underlying symbolism. For example, lapis lazuli was the color of the dark blue, protective night sky; green turquoise and feldspar were like the life-bringing waters of the Nile River. Green jasper was the color of new vegetation, symbolizing new life; red jasper and carnelian were like blood, the basis of life. Gold represented the sun with all its inherent life-promoting properties and connotations of daily renewal; silver was the color of the monthly reborn moon. All those materials could be imitated by like-colored glass, glazed composition, glaze, or paint. Although a particular amulet's material might have been specified in texts, almost any material, as long as its color was appropriate to the symbolism, could be substituted.
Most provenanced amulets came from burials or were found on bodies; however, the distinction between amulets for the living and funerary amulets is often problematic, since amulets worn in life for their magical properties could be taken to the tomb for use in life after death. Funerary amulets were made specifically for burials. They were placed on the corpse to give aid and protection during the perilous journey to the netherworld and to supply and supplement the requirements of the afterlife. Ancient sources provide the most information about funerary amulets. The forms of certain funerary amulets were prescribed by chapters of the Book of Going Forth by Day (Book of the Dead). In those chapters, the material to be used was stipulated, the spell to be recited was provided, the desired result was stated, and the amulet's appearance was illustrated in an accompanying vignette. The Book of Going Forth by Day was placed in the tomb and functioned as a funerary amulet, since its spells were aimed at helping its deceased owner reach the netherworld and obtain a comfortable life there.
Other sources of information for funerary amulets include a list from the Ptolemaic era of 104 amulets from the temple of Hathor at Dendera. These amulets were depicted without written description on a doorway of the temple's roof in the western Osiris complex. The verso of a contemporary funerary text, the MacGregor Papyrus, contains images of seventy-five amulets, usually with names. In addition, the text of a wooden tablet of New Kingdom date (now in the Berlin Museum) specifies the materials of a select group of amulets, and a Late period sheet-gold plaque (now in the British Museum) is embossed with a selection of amuletic forms.
Funerary texts usually specified where on the corpse an amulet should be placed. From the New Kingdom until later dynastic times, the exact positioning was important. Some rare diagrams on Late period papyri provided a schematic layout for the positioning of amulets on mummies, although contemporary bodies had amulets scattered over them in a random fashion. During the nineteenth century, when many mummies were unwrapped but not recorded, information about the positioning of amulets was lost. The pioneering recording work in this field by W. M. Flinders Petrie (conveniently republished in his Amulets, London, 1914) was restricted to mummies that were dated to the very end of dynastic times. In the latter twentieth century, however, information provided by modern X-ray techniques on still-wrapped corpses, careful documentation of new finds, and reassessment of existing evidence, constantly add to the current state of knowledge.
Amulets were worn on the body in several ways. A means of suspension or holes for attachment were not essential for funerary amulets since they were often laid on the body, but in rare instances amulets on their original stringing have survived. From the First Intermediate Period, twisted flax fibers were knotted between widely spaced amulets. Two thousand years later, this tradition of stringing survived on the chests of Roman mummies, worn in rows of well-spaced amulets, on flax threads, attached to palm-fiber frames. In all other instances, the order of restringing was arbitrary. Depictions of strings of amulets and surviving, still-strung examples show that the living wore individual amulets combined with strings of beads on either gold chains or wire.
Recognizable amulets have been dated as early as the Predynastic Badarean period, some fifteen centuries before the first dynasty. Most take the form of a living creature or part of a living creature (with the part representing the whole). Though all came from burials, they were intended to function as a magical aid to the living and were taken to the grave subsequently. Some, such as a hobbled hippopotamus made of shell and pierced to be worn upside down, were meant to work apotropaically—to ward off an evil or dangerous force by its very representation. (Throughout Egyptian history the male hippopotamus was feared for its unpredictable savagery and became linked with the demonized form of the god Seth.) Amulets of the head of a dog, bull, panther or lioness, gazelle or antelope could also have been used apotropaically, but they might have been intended to transfer the animal's particular qualities or characteristic behavior to the wearer by sympathetic magic—to confer the wild dog's swiftness or cunning, the bull's virility or strength, leonine savagery, or the desert creature's agility and speed. W. M. Flinders Petrie, in his seminal work on amulets (1914), attempted to classify into five broad categories (homopoeic, ktematic, dynatic, theophoric, and phylactic) the 275 types of amulets known to him, based on the amulet's function. He termed such examples homopoeic, that is, the amulets, shaped like living creatures (or their parts) with special characteristics or capabilities that their owner wished to acquire by assimilation.
The fly amulet, which first appeared in the Predynastic-period, had significance until the Third Intermediate Period, but whether it was worn apotropaically, to ward off Egypt's most prevalent pest, or to endow its wearer by sympathetic magic with its unrivaled powers of reproduction, is uncertain. A Predynastic amulet's specific function may, in most instances, only be surmised. When of New Kingdom date and made of precious metal, especially gold, a fly was considered representative of a royal award, originally for bravery in the field, perhaps for persistence in attacking the enemy, based on the insect's characteristic behavior. Other Predynastic amulets depict the reclining jackal and crouched falcon. (Although both animals represented a specific deity in dynastic times, the historical identities of Anubis and Horus are not attributable retrospectively to Predynastic amulets). Natural objects, such as shells and birds' claws, were also used amuletically in Predynastic times, and their forms were retained well into the pharaonic era, imitated in other materials.
Although only a few amulets and pieces of amuletic jewelry can be securely dated to the Early Dynastic period, the expanded range of materials and manufacturing techniques used is exemplified by a bracelet that was found in the tomb of the first dynasty pharaoh Djer at Abydos. It is comprised of alternating gold and turquoise serekh-beads surmounted by crouched falcons that were identified with the living king—and were presumably his protector. One of three contemporary gold amulets from a woman's burial at Naga ed-Deir in Upper Egypt was shaped like an elaterid beetle, sacred to the warlike goddess Neith of Sais; its top was also inlaid with her emblem. Although, the amulet placed its wearer under Neith's protection, it might also have been the insignia of her priestess. During the succeeding period, the Old Kingdom, a woman buried at Giza wore some fifty gold elaterids around her neck.
By the end of the Old Kingdom, the range of amuletic types was expanded; many took the form of living creatures. The earliest firmly dated scarab (dung beetle) was made of ivory and the find was excavated in a sixth dynasty burial at Abydos. Its appearance marked the beginning of an amuletic form that was to become the most prevalent in ancient Egypt. Ancient misapprehensions about the insect's characteristic behavior—that baby beetles were spontaneously generated from a ball of dung rolled about by an adult—led to its consideration as a symbol of new life, regeneration, and resurrection. Other new forms, such as turtles, scorpions, and crocodiles, which appeared in numbers at that time, were apotropaic, worn to ward off the evil or danger they represented.
Within the history of ancient Egyptian mythology, the turtle remained a creature of darkness, waiting in the waters of the underworld to impede the nightly progress of the sun god's bark. The harmful powers of the scorpion, however, later came to be harnessed for good as the goddess Serket (who wore the venomous creature on her head), who—with Isis, Neith, and Nephthys—became an amuletic protectress of the dead, linked with the embalmed internal organs. Yet throughout dynastic times, scorpion-form amulets continued to be used apotropaically. Amulets of crocodiles, which predate the first dynasty, also exemplify this strangely ambiguous attitude. Throughout the pharaonic period, they were worn to ward off this most feared creature which, in eating its victim, denied a person the chance of an afterlife. At the same time, the crocodile was revered as the deity Sobek who, thus propitiated, in theory could do no harm. The amulet of a crowned crocodile, or of a man with a crocodile's head, represented Sobek and could be worn as a sign of the god's patronage and protection. As early as the Old Kingdom, amulets of a standing hippopotamus probably depicted the beneficent Taweret as the goddess of childbirth; a horned cow's head probably represented the goddess Hathor as the archetypal mother; and a vulture probably symbolized Nekhbet as the patroness of Upper Egypt. It is not certain that the frog was then associated with the goddess Heket who assisted Khnum at mankind's creation. Because of its apparent self-generation from mud in teeming numbers, the frog always had connotations of fertility and resurrection.
Other amulets of living creatures that first appeared in the late Old Kingdom pose greater problems of classification. Does the duckling represent a food offering to be a magical supplier of offerings not presented at the tomb? If this is its function, it would belong to Petrie's ktematic class (from Greek for “property”) of amulets representing items connected with the funerary cult. Other amulets in this category functioned as substitutes for funerary goods taken to the tomb for use in the afterlife but which might be stolen or destroyed: they take the form of various types of jewelry, clothing, and shawabti servant figures. Then, too, the duckling might be interpreted as a forerunner of the duck-form amulet with head turned back as though in sleep, awaiting awakening, which symbolized resurrection. A new amulet form, one shaped like a bolti fish, certainly had connotations of regeneration because of its habit of hiding its young in its mouth when danger threatened, spitting them out later to reappear as though reborn. The simian-shaped amulets may have represented the vervet, guarantor of its wearer's sexuality, or they were forerunners of a sacred baboon.
The couchant hare as amulet had a long history, and was especially popular in the Late period. It is unclear, however, whether it was expected to endow its wearer with the creature's legendary speed, awareness, or fecundity, or to guarantee the same victory over death that it achieved by surviving in the inhospitable desert, death's domain. Another amulet new to the Old Kingdom, which also enjoyed its greatest popularity in the Late period, represented in its developed form, two back-to-back couchant lions. The sun rose each dawn over their backs, and the amulet would afford its owner a similar daily rebirth. Uncertain, however, is whether a single couchant lion form was intended to bestow fierceness or to afford protection.
The first animal-headed human deity as amulet occurred in the Old Kingdom as a jackal-headed man, undoubtedly Anubis, the god of mummification. Perhaps the chief embalmer as early as that time donned a jackal's mask to carry out his work and thus initiated the iconography. Like the crocodile, the black jackal was a dangerous force that had to be propitiated; since its main activity was prowling desert cemeteries for bones to crunch, and since destruction of the body prevented an afterlife, the jackal was deified as the god of embalming, assigned to protect the very corpse it would by nature attack. A new amuletic form, one of a kneeling man with a palm rib in each outstretched hand, exhibits the unchanging iconography of Heh, god of millions, bestower of eternity. The significance is unknown, however, from the considerable extant examples of human-form amulets of men, women, and children; these are distinguished by various postures and children are always identified by the characteristic pose, with a finger to the mouth.
Some of the best known, in the form of inanimate objects, made a first appearance in the Old Kingdom. Most belong to Petrie's dynatic category: amulets that were invested with particular powers whose use could be transferred to their wearers. Although the ankh, the T-shaped cross with a loop handle later adopted by the Copts (representing pictorially a sandal's tie-straps) appeared early, few amuletic examples have survived from any period of pharaonic history. The hieroglyph ankh was used to write the words “life,” “to live,” “living,” and “alive.” The ankh, however, was employed far more as an element of design, in a hieroglyphic context, and as a large scepterlike emblem carried by deities and offered to the favored.
New, too, was the djed-pillar amulet, in the form of the hieroglyph meaning “enduring” and “stable,” originally representing a stylized tree trunk with lopped-off branches. It was associated first with Sokar, funerary god of Saqqara (near Memphis), and later with Ptah, the creator god of Memphis. It was already becoming linked with Osiris, the god of the dead during that time, and henceforth represented his backbone with ribs. Once it became a prescribed funerary amulet in the early New Kingdom, chapter 155 of the Book of Going Forth by Day associated it solely with Osiris. Although its specified material was gold, most examples of this form were made of green or blue materials having regenerative connotations.
The wedjat (“sound one”) also made its first appearance in the Old Kingdom; it took the form of the eye of the falcon sky god Horus. The Eye of Horus was considered the most powerful of protective amulets. Abundant examples with many variant forms and materials have survived from all subsequent dynastic periods. Its basic shape resembles a human eye with eyebrow, but beneath the eye it has a drop and a curl, markings of the lanner falcon (Falco biarmicus). It is usually considered to represent the left “lunar” eye, plucked out by Seth and restored to Horus by Thoth—a reference to the moon being “injured” as it wanes and “restored” as it waxes each month. Yet the term might also apply to the right “solar” eye that was never injured; interestingly, right wedjat amulets also exist.
During the First Intermediate Period, the number and range of amuletic forms noticeably increased. A new category of funerary amulets that represented royal regalia and divine emblems, once only of use to royalty in the life after death, became available to everyone as a result of the democratization of funerary beliefs and practices already in evidence. Henceforth, any burial might have contained amulets of the most royal of all protective creatures, the human-headed, lion-bodied sphinx. Other examples include the Red Crown or Double Crown; the vulture and cobra, emblems of Upper and Lower Egypt respectively; and the uraeus (upreared cobra), solar protector of royalty, which in life was worn only by the pharaoh. Other forms of amulet that fall within Petrie's dynatic classification were not added to the repertory for commoners until the Late period. Examples include the royal beard and headdress, the White Crown, and the crook and flail; some divine emblems, such as the animal-headed was-scepter, bestower of dominion; the cord-formed shen, which granted solar protection; the tall feather plumes, emblem of divine majesty; and cosmic forms, such as the sun and moon, symbolic of a celestial afterlife to which only the pharaoh once had access.
Unique to the First Intermediate Period was a category of funerary amulet in the shape of various parts of the human anatomy. These were intended to bestow their particular functions and capabilities on their dead owner and physically substitute for those bodily parts should they be damaged or destroyed. The hand, fist, or arm with fist would endow their wearer with manual dexterity and the capability for forceful action; the leg with foot would bestow the power of movement; the eye would give sight; and the face would provide the use of the senses in general. Perhaps most of them came to be considered inessential later because improvements in mummification methods made limbs less likely to become detached or injured. Body-part amulets demonstrate the problem of attempted classification into only five broad categories; their function is essentially homopoeic, but by providing a substitution, they are ktematic.
During the Middle Kingdom, the range of amuletic types widened, although some were to prove not only characteristic of, but virtually exclusive to, the period. Curiously, most were intended for use by women. Such is the case for the protective cylinder amulet, whether solid or of hollow precious metal, and for the amulet shaped like an oyster shell, also frequently of precious metal, which guaranteed the wearer's good health—and whose name (wedja) came to be one of the generic words for an amulet. Although actual cowrie shells were worn amuletically far earlier, only in the Middle Kingdom were they made of precious metals or semiprecious stones and strung as girdle elements, intended to ward off harm from the female genitalia they were thought to resemble. (The New Kingdom development of the shape is so unlike the original as to be termed “wallet-bead.”) The bird's claw, too, was imitated during the Middle Kingdom in inlaid precious metal or in semiprecious stone, and this amulet was attached to anklets to bestow swiftness and grace to a dancer's steps. Cloisonné-work clasps that spelled hieroglyphic good wishes to their royal wearers are found only during the Middle Kingdom. Exceptionally, a typical Middle Kingdom form, the hunched, squatting female human-headed sphinx (the proto-ba) of amethyst or turquoise was developed by the end of the New Kingdom into a seated cat whose human female head sported the stranded hairstyle characteristic of Nubia, which has been linked with childbirth and nursing. Virtually unique to the Middle Kingdom as an amulet, although commonplace throughout dynastic times as a protective decorative element, is the sʒ (used as hieroglyph to write the word “protection”); it is shaped like the reed protector worn as a life jacket by marsh dwellers.
Scarabs appeared in increasing numbers during the Middle Kingdom, and their amuletic properties were enhanced by texts and decorative images on their undersides, although some examples were employed as seals and were inscribed with the name and titles of their owner. Often the scarab seal acted as the bezel of a finger ring and was attached to the ring's shank so that it could revolve. During the New Kingdom, when scarabs as seals were superseded by metal signet rings, their amuletic function became all-important once more. The range of decoration on the underside of the scarab was enormous, from religious and royal scenes, texts, mottoes, and good luck signs to geometric and floral patterns and cryptography. Exactly contemporary with fully developed scarab amulets, and having an identical function were the scaraboids. Those forms have the same flat, oval, decorated underside, but instead of the insect's body, the back takes the shape of almost any living creature, often in multiples. These carved in high relief or free standing included kneeling antelopes, reclining lions, standing hedgehogs, recumbent ducks, reclining hippopotami, crocodiles back to back, bolti fish, baboons, and monkeys. A deviant form is the cowroid, a scaraboid with an elongated base and a back that resembles a stylized cowrie shell.
One particular form of scarab, the heart scarab, was to become the funerary amulet par excellence, so-called because it was made solely to be placed over the mummy's heart. Ideally shaped from a specified (but unidentified) green stone, its underside bore the heart scarab formula (chapter 30B of the Book of Going Forth by Day). Its function was to bind the heart to silence while it was being weighed in the underworld, so as to ascertain its deceased owner's worthiness to enter the Egyptian version of paradise. The heart was weighed and left in place during mummification (as the only internal organ to remain in the body) because it was believed to be the seat of intelligence, the originator of all feelings and actions, and the storehouse of memory. Consequently, four chapters of the Book of Going Forth by Day were concerned with preventing the deceased from being deprived of the heart in the afterlife. Heart-shaped amulets (substitutes for the organ should the unthinkable occur) were occasionally inscribed with the heart scarab formula. The earliest were contemporary with their first depiction as a prescribed funerary amulet in early New Kingdom books of Going Forth by Day and were made only of materials with regenerative symbolism or with connotations of eternity. Their characteristic shape resembled a pot with a neck and two lug handles, rather than the organ in question, but their ability to represent the very essence of their owner was demonstrated by forms with human heads. The earliest dated heart scarab bearing chapter 30B belonged to Nebankh, a thirteenth dynasty official of Sobekhotpe IV. It predates the earliest royal example to survive, which belonged to the seventeenth dynasty pharaoh Sobkemsaf II by more than a century. Generally, such innovations appeared among nonroyalty only after an earlier introduction for royalty.
Royal heart scarabs of the New Kingdom and later were frequently incorporated into a pectoral and supplied with inlaid wings, an acknowledgment that the dung beetle could fly and a visualization of the concept of resurrection. For commoners in the Late period, the same imagery was conveyed by a large flat-based winged scarab of glazed composition used for stitching to the mummy wrappings or for incorporation into the bead netting that enveloped contemporary mummies. A less well-known type of Late period funerary scarab has relief legs clasped to a highly convex belly that was pierced or had a loop for attachment to mummy wrappings. Sometimes the insect's head was replaced by that of a ram, falcon, or bull—presumably having connotations of solar rebirth.
Another prescribed New Kingdom funerary amulet was the tyet or Girdle of Isis, representing an open loop of cloth with a bound lower end and a long hanging sash that is flanked by two folded loops. Its specified material was red jasper, the color of the goddess's blood, and it conferred her protection. Papyrus exemplified green vegetation (considered symbolic of new life) and as the wadj, or papyrus scepter, it became another example of prescribed funerary amulets. Made predominantly of green material, it occurred first in the eighteenth dynasty; some Late period examples had two plants carved side by side on a plaque.
Surprisingly few amulets of deities, whether in human, animal-headed, or sacred animal form, predate the New Kingdom. Even then, the number of examples was not great and the repertory remains restricted. By far the most popular forms were the minor household deities connected with birth who would help with rebirth in the afterlife. The goddess Taweret—a composite of a hippopotamus with fearsome teeth, always in upright posture but with the pendulous breasts and swollen stomach of a pregnant woman, and with a crocodile's tail—aided woman in childbirth. Her attendant Bes was a good-natured genie, who warded off evil influences at the moment of birth by noisy music-making or by wielding a knife. This dwarflike deity had a lion's mane surrounding leonine features, a lion's tail, and bandy legs and was usually depicted naked, except for tall plumes on his head. During the New Kingdom, the major deities as amulets were the falcon-form sun god, Isis suckling Horus, Hathor as cow, Thoth as baboon, the ram-headed creator Khnum, and a divine child (Horus or the infant sun). Unique to the Ramessid period was an amulet depicting the god Seth with a long curved snout and tall squared-off ears. Although patron of the Ramessid pharaohs, his amuletic form would only be worn in life as a sign of devotion; in the afterlife, Osiris was king. After his demonization, in the Late period, amulets were made showing Seth in hippopotamus form being harpooned by Horus, thus protecting the owner against evil.
From the end of the New Kingdom, amulets of deities became numerous and more diverse in subject. Most of the great gods and goddesses and their animal manifestations, as well as some obscure deities were represented during this time. Examples of those in completely human form were Amun-Re, king of the gods; Ptah, the Memphite creator; the lotus god Nefertum; Shu, god of air; Maat, goddess of cosmic order; Hathor with cow's horns and disk; and Mut, Amun-Re's wife, first appeared early in the Third Intermediate Period, as did Hatmehit, the local goddess of Mendes who wears a fish on her head. Not until the twenty-sixth dynasty, however, were there amulets that depicted the ancient war goddess Neith; the Theban lunar god Khonsu; Imhotep, the deified architect of the Step Pyramid at Saqqara; and the local hunter god Inhert. Amulets of the Apis bull, Ptah's earthly animal manifestation, were, surprisingly, introduced at that late date.
Numerous falcon-headed deities first occurred as amulets during the Third Intermediate Period. Such were Horus of Edfu, Horus-the-Elder, Horus, son of Osiris, the Theban war god Montu, and a secondary form of lunar Khnosu. More obscure amuletic deities for this period were the snake-headed Nehebkau who symbolized invincible living power, and Mayhes, the only lion god who appeared as amulet. Maned, lion-headed goddesses, however, were particularly popular during the Third Intermediate Period. Those included Bastet, patroness of the Libyan dynasties; Sekhmet, symbolizing the destroying heat of the sun; Tefnut of Heliopolis; Wadjyt, protectress of Lower Egypt; and local deities, such as Mehyt and Pakhet. It was also usually a lion goddess's head which surmounted the broad collar of the protective aegis amulet. Amulets of Bastet as a cat were proliferate. Petrie had classified all amulets of deities as theophoric (better theomorphic), but in function most can be allotted to his phylactic (protective) category or to his homopoeic category, for the wearer wished to assimilate the deity's particular powers or characteristics.
First occurring in the Third Intermediate Period and characteristic of it, were amulets of the Four Sons of Horus, the canopic deities who guarded the embalmed internal organs. At that time, a change in mummification practices caused the canopic packages to be returned to the body cavity, each with an amulet of the relevant deity attached, shown full length and mummiform. Even when the packages were placed in canopic jars, an amuletic set containing falcon-headed Kebehsenuef, baboon-headed Hapy, human-headed Imsety, and jackal-headed Duamutef would still be supplied for stitching to the mummy wrappings or for incorporation into the bead netting that enveloped contemporary mummies.
During the Saite period, funerary amulets were used in significantly increased number and form. Types which had previously been found only in royal burials were now made available to all. The weres-amulet, in the shape of a headrest, the preferred support for the head during sleep and usually made from hematite, became characteristic of Late period burials. Its primary purpose was to raise the deceased's head magically in resurrection, just as the sun was raised over the eastern horizon each dawn. The pss-kf amulet with a bifurcated end was used in the Opening of the Mouth ceremony, which reincorporated the spirit into the corpse on the day of burial. It reappeared in the New Kingdom form at this time. The carnelian or red jasper snake's head, which protected the dead against snake bites and gave refreshment to the throat, was manufactured only for royalty and the highest officials during the New Kingdom.
New forms were invented during the Saite period, perhaps to fill a perceived lack. The two-fingers amulet, always of a dark material (obsidian or black glass), perhaps represented the index finger and the second digit of the embalmer, and was invariably found near the embalming wound. It might have been intended to confirm the embalming process or to give protection to the most vulnerable area of the corpse. Amulets in the form of the carpenter's set, square, and plummet, which bestowed eternal rectitude and everlasting equilibrium; the writing tablet amulet, which gave access to magical formulas; and the sma-sign, which represented an animal's lungs and windpipe, symbolizing unification, were unique to the period. These examples belong to Petrie's dynatic category but are representative of a state or condition that the owner wished to enjoy in the afterlife.
The amuletic form of the triad of the Osirian holy family—comprised of Isis and Nephthys flanking the child Horus—has not been dated earlier than the Saite period. Always made of glazed composition, the figures are almost invariably shown in frontal raised relief against a plaque. The goddesses would bestow to the deceased the same protection that they afforded their dead brother Osiris and his infant son Horus. It is noteworthy that amulets of the god of the dead continued to be extremely few in number. Earlier, Osiris was depicted only as a pectoral element in the company of family deities. Most of the tiny bronzes of Late period date that characteristically depict him in mummiform not only have suspension loops but also show tangs below the feet and were not intended to be worn as a personal ornament.
- Andrews, Carol. Amulets of Ancient Egypt. London, 1994. The most up-to-date, comprehensive account of the subject; fully illustrated from the large and mostly unpublished collection of the British Museum's Egyptian Department.
- Müller-Winkler, C. Die Ägyptischen Objekt-Amulette. Orbis Biblicus et Orientalis, Series Archaeologica, 5. Freiburg, 1987. A comprehensive listing of all published examples of amulets of inanimate form; their materials and dimensions are tabulated, their stylistic development noted, and their dating discussed. An illustrated catalog of the Freiburg University collection of such amulets is included.
- Petrie, W. M. Flinders. Amulets. London, 1914. The seminal work on the subject; his general classification system remains usable and his illustrations of the positioning of amulets on twenty-four Late period mummies is of great value. The chief drawback is that it predates most of the site reports that are sources for well-dated and closely identified examples. (For example, Tutankhamun's treasures and the royal burials of Tanis were unknown to Petrie.)
- Reisner, G. A. Amulets (Catalogue général des Antiquités égyptiennes du Musée du Caire). 2 vols. Cairo, 1907/1958. Photographs and line drawings show many of the objects, but the text has minimal catalog entries.
Carol A. R. Andrews