Amulet, cartouche of Merenptah - ROM2017_16067_13


Amulet, cartouche of Merenptah

Medium:Glazed composition (faience), mould-made
Geography: Excavated at Serabit el-Khadim, Sinai, Egypt
Date: c. 1295-1186 BC
Period: 19th Dynasty, Ramesside Period, New Kingdom
1.43 x 1.11 cm
Object number: 906.16.27
Not on view

What we call a ‘cartouche’ was known in Ancient Egypt as a shen.  It represents a length of papyrus rope, with the ends folded over each other at the bottom, encircling a sacred space. This shape carries the connotation of protection for whatever is within.  By the Old Kingdom, two of the king’s five names were written within a shen. The name in this shen is that of the Nineteenth Dynasty pharaoh Merenptah.  Only part of the king’s praenomen (Ba-en-re Mery-netjeru) is preserved.

There is a loop for suspension or sewing visible, though broken, at bottom. Such inexpensive souvenirs of the king were handed out in considerable numbers at festivals. Afterward, it might have been worn as an amulet in life.

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