About this artwork
Small-scale Egyptian figurines, known as amulets, were thought to promote health and good luck. Amulets were such an important part of Egyptian religious beliefs that they were worn by both the living and the dead. They could be mounted on rings or strung as bracelets or necklaces and were placed among the mummy wrappings to secure the deceased’s rebirth and well-being in the afterlife. There are many varieties of amulets, including figures of deities, parts of the human (ordivine) body, animals, plants, and objects of daily life. The human heart—the seat of the soul and memory in Egyptian belief—was represented as a jar with two small handles. Heart-shaped amulets protected the individual’s intellect and allowed the deceased to make his or her confession before the gods at the judgment of their soul.
Many glass amulets were made in the shape of human organs and placed in mummy wrappings near the organ they represented. The magical properties of such amulets were believed to ensure the well-being of the deceased in the afterlife.
Currently Off View
- Ancient and Byzantine Art
- Ancient Egyptian
- Amulet of a Heart
- 1550 BC–1295 BC
- 2.1 × 1.9 × 0.6 cm (7/8 × 3/4 × 1/4 in.)
- Gift of Henry H. Getty and Charles L. Hutchinson