The menat amulet originally held a functional position, in that it was used as a counterpoise on large and elaborate necklaces. Large examples of the amulet have been found, still attached to their chains of beads, suggesting the counterpoise would hang at the start of the spine. Their function altered over time and they became an apotropaic amulet in their own right. They were often dedicated to Hathor, who was often represented carrying a menat necklace and sistrem.
The menat has also been referred to as a m ʻnḫt (menkhet) amulet. The addition of a fringed element may be the distinguishing factor. The hieroglyphs for ‘clothing’ transliterates as mnḫt, so this may also be a play on words for the amulet.
To find out more about Ancient Egyptian amulets please see our relevant blog post: Egyptian Amulets and their Meanings.