Amulets in Ancient Egypt held different meanings, depending on their type or form. They were both decorative and practical at the same time, as they were believed to have apotropaic powers to protect or bestow power upon the wearer to ward off evil forces. Not only worn by the living, amulets have been found inside the wrappings of mummies, as they were used to prepare the deceased for the afterlife. Amulets depicting natural elements, such as the shells displayed here, are some of the most ancient.
Faience is a glazed ceramic known for producing bright colours, especially blues, turquoises and greens. It is produced from quartz or sand crystals mixed with other compounds, finished with a vitreous alkaline glaze to the surface. Faience glimmers in the light and was believed by the Egyptians to represent rebirth and immortality. During the Predynastic period only green and blue faience occurred, however from the Old Kingdom and onwards alternative colours such as black, yellow and red were added to the palette. The colours had different symbolisms for example, blue was thought to reflect fertility and life. Faience was manufactured into amulets and jewellery, the substance was used to create scarabs, furniture and cups.
To discover more about Egyptian amulets, please visit our relevant blog post: Amulets in Ancient Egypt.