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Red jasper tit amulet of Nefer


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Height: 6.500 cm

EA 20639

On loan to

    Red jasper tit amulet of Nefer

    From Egypt
    New Kingdom, about 1250-1100 BC

    The protection of Isis

    The tit amulet was one of several which was placed on the neck of the deceased at the time of burial. It is first mentioned in funerary papyri and first appears on mummies in the mid-Eighteenth Dynasty (about 1550-1295 BC). From then on it was considered vital.

    This example is made of red jasper, as prescribed in the Book of the Dead, though many examples were of other red materials such as glass or carnelian. Some were also made of green faience or glass. In ancient Egypt, green was symbolic of regeneration. The amulet was linked with the goddess Isis, and also known as the knot-amulet or girdle of Isis. It consists of a loop of cloth, from the tied lower end of which hung two folded loops. It may represent a cloth used during menstruation.

    According to Spell 156 of the Book of the Dead the amulet bestowed the protection of Isis against 'whoever would commit a crime against him'. The spell, invoking the goddess' blood, power, and magic, was to be recited over the amulet, which was moistened with the juice of various fruit. This example is inscribed with Nefer's name, to ensure that the spell would be specifically applied to him.

    C.A.R. Andrews, Amulets of Ancient Egypt (London, The British Museum Press, 1994)

    C.A.R. Andrews, Eternal Egypt: treasures from, exh. cat. (Hong Kong, Museum of Art, 1998)


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