Amulet, wadjet eye - 986x2.21.8_1


Amulet, wadjet eye

Medium:Glazed composition (black faience)
Geography: Undetermined site, Egypt
Date: c. 380-343 BC
Period: 30th Dynasty, Late Period
1.6 × 2.2 × 0.4 cm
Object number: 986X2.21.8
On view
Gallery Location:

One of the most popular amulets known from ancient Egypt, the wadjet eye represents the healed eye of Horus, the falcon god. The Egyptian word wadjet means “one that is whole or sound (again)” and refers to a struggle between Horus and the god Seth where Horus first loses his eye and then regains it through the agency of Thoth. The wadjet eye thus has a regenerative and healing function and was commonly placed within mummy wrappings to help the deceased in the Afterlife. This Wadjet eye amulet is made of black faience. The back and edges are shiny and smooth. This right eye amulet has been decorated with raised ridges indicating the outline of the eye, the cosmetic line, the teardrop and the curved tail of the falcon eye. The teardrop is broken off. The narrow brow is decorated with small incisions. A small suspension loop with three segments divided by incised grooves has been added at the top of the eye.

      The Sacred Eye, depicted as a wedjat eye, is mentioned in Spells 140 and 167 of The Book of the Dead.

          This amulet, pierced for suspension, has detailed Lanner falcon markings. It would have have been sewn onto 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 series of wedjat eyes are often graduated, as here. The threat of having one's head removed after death was mentioned in Spell 43 of the Book of the Dead. "The head of Osiris shall not be taken from him, and my head shall not be taken from me." Such an array of Sacred Eyes would have been intended to secure the head to the body.

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