Amulet, wadjet eye - ROM2018_16320_14


Amulet, wadjet eye

Geography: Undetermined site, Egypt
Period: Undetermined Period
2.4 × 2.1 × 0.4 cm
Object number: 910.46.172
On view
Gallery Location:Galleries of Africa: Egypt

The wedjat eye, whose Egyptian name means 'the sound one' or 'the healthy one, wass one of the most popular of all Ancient Egyptian amulets. It represents the eye of the falcon-headed god, Horus.  The markings underneath the eye resemble the markings around the eyes of the Lanier falcon, who may have been the early model for Horus.  In one story, Horus' eye was ripped out by his uncle Seth during a battle. The eye was magically restored by the god Thoth, who can be depicted holding the eye.  In another story, the Wedjat is the eye of Horus-the-Elder, whose right eye was the sun, and whose left eye was the moon. The moon could be seen as injured, waxing and waning, and as an eye in need of healing.  On the other hand, the wedjat would represent the sun, the 'healthy' eye.  After the god Osiris rose to prominence at the end of the Old Kingdom, the eye was usually identified as the eye of his son, Horus.  The Sacred Eye, depicted as a wedjat eye, is mentioned in Spells 140 and 167 of The Book of the Dead.

This blue glass amulet, though pierced for suspension, has little detail.  It may have been sewn into the wrappings of a mummy. It was not uncommon, in the Late Period, for a mummy to have an actual or veritable necklace of many wedjat eyes sewn or placed outside the bandages, around the neck. The threat of having one's head removed after death was one that was often mentioned in the Book of the Dead.  Such a necklace would have been intended to secure the head to the body.

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