Magic bricks of Henutmehyt

From the tomb of Henutmehyt at Thebes, Egypt
19th Dynasty, around 1290 BC

During the New Kingdom (about 1550-1070 BC), magic bricks were placed in tombs, in order to protect the deceased from the enemies of the god Osiris. They were positioned at the four cardinal points of the tomb (north, east, south and west). An amulet was set in each socket, standing so it faced the opposite wall. Each brick was inscribed with a portion of Spell 151 of the Book of the Dead. This spell identifies the deceased with Osiris. Isis and Nephthys. The four sons of Horus offer their protection; the amuletic figures of the magic bricks specifying the ways in which they will defend the deceased from attack.

The brick beside the west wall contains a faience djed pillar, representing the backbone of Osiris. It was thus an amulet which promoted stability and endurance.

The brick by the east wall is surmounted by a clay figure of the jackal god Anubis. He presided over the mummification process, and protected the necropolis (cemetery).

The mummiform figure by the north wall is identified in the spell as a shabti. This amulet offers to perform agricultural tasks on behalf of the deceased.

The brick by the south wall contains a reed to hold a torch, burning the path of those who wish the deceased harm.

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More information

Bibliography

J.H. Taylor, Studies in Egyptian antiquitie, British Museum Occasional Paper 123 (, 1999)

Dimensions

Height: 4.300 cm ('west')
Width: 9.500 cm ('west')
Length: 11.000 cm ('west')
Height: 4.300 cm ('west')
Height: 4.300 cm ('west')
Width: 9.500 cm ('west')
Length: 11.000 cm ('west')
Height: 4.300 cm ('west')
Width: 9.500 cm ('west')
Length: 11.000 cm ('west')
Height: 4.300 cm ('west')
Width: 9.500 cm ('west')
Length: 11.000 cm ('west')
Height: 4.300 cm ('west')
Height: 4.300 cm ('west')
Width: 9.500 cm ('west')
Length: 11.000 cm ('west')
Height: 4.300 cm ('west')

Museum number

EA 41544;EA 41545;EA 41546;EA 41547

YCA14752;YCA14753;YCA14754;YCA14755;YCA14756;YCA14757;YCA14758;YCA14759

Location

Find in the collection online



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