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 Triad amulet was especially popular during the Saite Period (26th Dynasty). These three deities make up the Osirian triad from the great myth in Egyptian funerary religion. Horus, the young boy in the centre, was the son of Osiris. His uncle, Seth, tried to kill him in order to become king of the gods, but Horus was saved by the magical skill and cunning of his mother, Isis. Nephthys, Horus’ aunt, aided her sister in his escape. Because both goddesses were magicians, they were excellent protectors of the vulnerable mummy. Small faience triads, such as this one, were generally placed on the lower torso of the deceased.
To find out more about Ancient Egyptian amulets please see our relevant blog post: Egyptian Amulets and their Meanings: Ancient Egyptian Gods.