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.
Amulets held different meanings, depending on their type or form. Small amulets depicting gods and goddesses seem to have induced the protective powers of the deity. On the other hand, small representations of anatomical features or creatures suggest that the wearer required protection over a specific body part, or that he/she desired the skills of a particular animal. Amulets depicting animals were very common in the Old Kingdom Period, whilst representations of deities gained popularity in the Middle Kingdom.
Isis, here shown standing and wearing the familiar throne headdress, is the archetypal protective mother goddess. She is found on every mummy, usually on the upper torso, and often with her sister, Nephthys.
Horus is one of the most significant and well-known Egyptian deities, here shown with no headdress, and striding with his left leg forward. Amulets of Horus were thought to grant the wearer protection in this world and in the next.
Nephthys, here shown with her typical headdress, is one of the four protectresses of the dead. She is the sister of Isis and Osiris, and the wife of Seth. She is found on every mummy, usually on the upper torso and in the company of Isis.
To find out more about Ancient Egyptian amulets please see our relevant blog post: Egyptian Amulets and their Meanings: Ancient Egyptian Gods.