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 often associated with a particular god or goddess and the properties they possessed.
The lion was a representation of the sun Goddess Sekhmet, who embodied the destructiveness of war, and healing. Sekhmet, meaning ‘the powerful one’, was a lioness goddess with a dual nature, much like a lioness itself. She was the bringer of destruction and the protector. The lion was a symbol of both danger and safety, associated with regenerative properties, ferocity and bravery. It is entirely feasible that this amulet was worn to ask of Sekhmet’s protection or to emulate a lion’s characteristics.
To find out more about Ancient Egyptian amulets please see our relevant blog post: Egyptian Amulets and their Meanings: Ancient Egyptian Gods.