Skip to Content
Closed today, next open Thursday. Closed today, next open Thursday.

Amulet of a Lion-Headed Cobra

A work made of glass.
CC0 Public Domain Designation

Image actions

  • A work made of glass.

Date:

Ptolemaic Period–Roman Period, 4th century BCE–4th century CE

Artist:

Egyptian

About this artwork

With the body of a rearing cobra and the head of a ferocious lion, this faience amulet is small but mighty. During the mummification process, amulets like this one were folded into the linen wrappings of a body to protect the deceased.

Such objects often depicted gods and goddesses in their human, animal, or mixed forms. This amulet likely represents a goddess— either Sekhmet or Wadjet— but because the image is not inscribed with a name, her identity remains uncertain. Sekhmet typically is depicted as a lioness or lion-headed woman, while Wadjet appears in the form of a cobra. In Egyptian mythology, Sekhmet and Wadjet both acted as the Eye of Re—the daughter of the sun god, Re, who also served as his protector. In the fearsome mixed form shown here, they would embody protection and power. The lion-headed cobra form could be an allusion to the uraeus, a hooded cobra worn on the crowns of royalty and deities for protection.

Status

Currently Off View

Department

Arts of Africa

Culture

Ancient Egyptian

Title

Amulet of a Lion-Headed Cobra

Place

Egypt (Object made in)

Date  Dates are not always precisely known, but the Art Institute strives to present this information as consistently and legibly as possible. Dates may be represented as a range that spans decades, centuries, dynasties, or periods and may include qualifiers such as c. (circa) or BCE.

400 BCE–400 CE

Medium

Glass

Dimensions

3.2 × 2.2 × 0.9 cm (1 5/16 × 7/8 × 3/8 in.)

Credit Line

Gift of Henry H. Getty, Charles L. Hutchinson, and Norman W. Harris

Reference Number

1894.176

IIIF Manifest  The International Image Interoperability Framework (IIIF) represents a set of open standards that enables rich access to digital media from libraries, archives, museums, and other cultural institutions around the world.

Learn more.

https://api.artic.edu/api/v1/artworks/140909/manifest.json

Extended information about this artwork

Object information is a work in progress and may be updated as new research findings emerge. To help improve this record, please email . Information about image downloads and licensing is available here.

Share

Sign up for our enewsletter to receive updates.

Learn more

Image actions

Share