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Amulet of a Double Animal: Lion and Bull

A work made of faience.
CC0 Public Domain Designation

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  • A work made of faience.


Late Period, Dynasty 26 (664–525 BCE)



About this artwork

Ancient Egyptians had several terms for small objects like this, which we call “amulets.” Worn by the living and the dead, these charms were meant to bring protection, health, and good luck, ensuring the bearer’s well-being in both life and the afterlife.

This amulet depicts the foreparts of both a lion and a bull, joined together at the back. It resembles another amulet type that shows conjoined lions, a representation of the god Aker, who was associated with the western and eastern horizons in the underworld. The identities of the figures on double-bull, double-ram, or lion-and-bull amulets like this one remain more elusive.

To an ancient Egyptian audience, the placement of the suspension loop in the center of the two animals would have evoked the hieroglyph for “horizon,” which represents the sun between two hills. Viewed in profile, the loop resembles the sun rising or setting against the horizon of the animals’ backs and may suggest that the amulet’s significance is tied to the solar cycle. Ancient Egyptians hoped that, just as the sun was reborn each day, they would experience their own rebirth into the afterlife.


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Arts of Africa


Ancient Egyptian


Amulet of a Double Animal: Lion and Bull


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.

664 BCE–525 BCE




1.6 × 0.8 × 2.4 cm (11/16 × 3/8 × 1 in.)

Credit Line

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

Reference Number


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.

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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.


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