Turquoise djed pillar amulet
Late Period, after 600 BC
The backbone of Osiris
djed pillar amulet was
one of the most common of all those placed on the mummy. A number
of them could be strung around the lower torso, or placed singly on
the upper chest or around the neck. The
djed pillar symbolized
stability and endurance. Although its form was originally that of a
tree whose branches had been cut off, it later became the backbone
of the god
Gold was prescribed as the suitable material for the djed pillar amulet, as it does not tarnish and therefore endures for eternity. Of course, gold was expensive, so yellow faience was sometimes used instead. Blue faience, glass or lapis lazuli were also commonly used. To the ancient Egyptian, the colour blue was associated with regeneration. The reddish-brown stone carnelian was also used, symbolizing new life.
The symbolism of form, colour and material were so designed that the amulet functioned perfectly to ensure that the deceased was reborn and endured in the Afterlife.
C.A.R. Andrews, Amulets of Ancient Egypt (London, The British Museum Press, 1994)