Faience is a glazed ceramic known for producing bright colours, especially blues, turquoises and greens. It is produced from quartz or sand crystals mixed with other compounds and can be cast into moulds to create beads or amulets like these ones. Faience glimmers in the light and was believed by the Egyptians to represent rebirth and immortality. The colours had different symbolisms for example, blue was thought to reflect fertility and life. However, faience was not just manufactured into amulets and jewellery, the substance was used to create scarabs, furniture and cups.
The Egyptians wore amulets alongside other pieces of jewellery. They were decorative, but also served a practical purpose, being considered to bestow power and protection upon the wearer. Many of the amulets have been found inside the wrappings of mummies, as they were used to prepare the deceased for the afterlife.
The Khet is an amulet of power, it depicts the pathway to the gods. Osiris, god of resurrection, eternal life and judge of the decreased, speaks of the stairs in the Book of the Dead, where he states he is ‘head of the staircase’. The same hieroglyph is used to form Osiris’ name.
To find out more about Ancient Egyptian amulets please see our relevant blog post: Egyptian Amulets and their Meanings.