Egyptian Steatite Rectangular Janiform Plaque Amulet Dedicated to Ramesses II


A janiform Egyptian steatite plaque amulet dedicated to Ramesses II. On one side the amulet depicts the figure of Ma’at, goddess of truth and justice, distinguishable by the ostrich feather upon her head. She is often described as the daughter of the sun god Ra, who came into being as the god rose from the waters of Nun, the god of chaos. Her hieroglyph can indicate the goddess herself, but equally the qualities she represents, such as justice or truth. On this piece she is portrayed while sitting and holding a ‘wʒs’ sceptre, a symbol of power; before her, the feather of truth represented as a 𓆄 ‘šw’ sign.

Transliterated the hieroglyphs read: wsr-mꜢꜤt-[rꜤ] (user-maat-[ra]), which translates as ‘the justice of Ra is powerful’.

The reverse’s field is filled with a crouching antelope depicted in its typical representation: with its head turned back and tail raised. To the sides, the piece is further enriched by a geometrical motif comprising of incised vertical lines. The amulet has been pierced longitudinally for suspension, though the hole is now blocked.


Date: Circa 664-332 BC
Period: Late Period, Dynasty 26-30
Provenance: Ex private London based collection, AH, formerly in English family collections acquired from the 1920s - 1990s.
Condition: Good condition, some chips and signs of ageing to the surface.


SKU: MG-126 Category: Tags: ,

The combination of hieroglyphs and the phrasing seen on this piece was used in the Throne Name of Ramesses II, also known as Ramesses the Great. He was the son of Seti I and a 19th Dynasty, New Kingdom pharaoh. He is considered the greatest of the New Kingdom pharaohs, the golden age of Egypt’s Empire. His successors labelled him the ‘Great Ancestor’ so great were his achievements. He was known for his military successes, building on the foundations of his father Seti I, across Syria, Lybia and Nubia. As well as being a strong military campaigner, Ramesses is known for his vast architectural feats, building statues and temple complexes, the Ramasseum and Abu Simbel being the most illustrious. The colossal statue of Ramesses still exists to this day and can be found in the Grand Egyptian Museum in Giza.

Gazelles, antelopes and ibexes were often depicted within Egyptian art. They were a symbol of ‘the hunt’, a prey animal depicted in offering lists. Perhaps amulets such as this example were meant for use as a food source in the afterlife. It seems antelopes were also associated with varying properties and deities, but do not have a distinct connection. From the Old Kingdom the animal was associated with the god Seth, amulets such as this might have meant to ward of the malevolent powers of the evil god. The deity Satis, a hunting and fertility goddess, was often depicted wearing a crown with antelope horns. Whilst the god Sokar, a complex chthonic and afterlife deity, was depicted with a barque featuring an antelope head at its prow. The barque represented the triumph of the sun.

To find out more about Ancient Egyptian amulets please see our relevant blog post: Egyptian Amulets and their Meanings.

Weight 4.01 g
Dimensions L 2 x W 1.4 x H 0.5 cm


Egyptian Mythology


Reference: For a similar item, please see The Metropolitan Museum, item 89.2.483