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.
The Tyet is also referred to as the ‘Knot of Isis’ or ‘Girdle of Isis’. It is connected to the Ankh sign, and can be translated as ‘life’, ‘welfare’, or similar. Its shape was commonly used for amulets, and was often buried with the dead, in association with Isis’s protective abilities and her connection with the afterlife.
Lapis lazuli was considered a semi-precious stone and not found locally to the Egyptians. Its status and value derived in part from the fact that it had to be imported, most likely from Afghanistan.
To find out more about Ancient Egyptian amulets please see our relevant blog post: Egyptian Amulets and their Meanings.