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Egyptian Faience Amulets

The least expensive and most common Egyptian amulets were small faience ones. While faience could be made into fancy shapes with many colors, most amulets are very simple monochromes. Many can only be identified after some practice.

These small amulets were often shorthand symbols for the things they represented. Many of these forms are called "debased," but they were simply quick and cheap ways to get the protection of the gods or other forces.

From Guy Burton 1928 Qau and Badari II London: British School of Archaeology. I have relied upon Burton's schema of these small amulets.

These are various human forms. At left is a standing man. Left center top are twins facing each other and bottom a man with lotus stems. Upper two right are feet (many body parts were used) and bottom two more little men.

Donor: the late Mrs. F.E. Willsie of Victoria, B.C., Canada Who?

These amulets are very small. The largest man (above) is 22 mm (just under an inch) long. Most of the following amulets (except Tut's) are half that large or less.

Bes is the god of laughter, merry-making and good luck, as well as the protector of children.

Left a drawing, right a blue and green Bes amulet.

The Udjat (Eye of Horus) on the right is from Tut's tomb. The less fancy ones on the left are much more common. The open lattice one is broken.

Hathor is shown in two incarnations on the left, as a woman and as a cow-faced woman. The cow face is adopted for many amulets (right). Hathor was a favorite of women.

The hawks on the left are also associated with Horus. Lower right may be another bird.

On the right are lions. Top: a crouching one faces right; a highly stylized one. Bottom: double lion heads.

Left: top two are hippo heads, bottom two are dog heads.

Right: a fish and an opium pod (earlier called a lotus pod).



: All amulets (except Bes) donated by the late Mrs. F.E. Willsie of Victoria, B.C. Canada. Who?

Bes Drawing

W.T. & K. Pavitt 1974 The Book of Talismans, Amulets and Zodiacal Gems N. Hollywood: Wilshire.

Tut's Udjat: I.E.S. Edward 1976 Tutankhamun's Jewelry. New York: Metropolitan Museum of Art.

Hathor: E.A. Wallis Budge 1968. Amulets and Talismans New York: Collier Books.

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