The Case of the Millennial Protection: Carrying Ones Amulets on one’s Neck: Analysing Three Pieces from KV 62 where Specific Stones Played a Role of Protection Incrusted in an Already Protective Macro-Structure

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Abstract

It has been a transversal trait of most civilizations, a fact not expressively mentioned for its customary recurrence, the practice of transporting on one’s neck, or body, protective elements, such as amulets (sA, mkt) or even talismans (wDA). Now- adays one usually sees silver– or gold–made symbols imbued with amuletic properties: one’s need for their day–to–day belief system and life. In ancient Egypt that would simply not be done! Perhaps the most outstanding examples, and so the more recognizable, are some of the pieces that were found inside KV 62, that the glazed eyes of our modern world cal- led jewels. In this essay, we do propose to take a closer look and make a careful analytical deconstruction of the so–called jewels to arrive at their components, considering both their separate constituent elements, the incrusted stones and other materials, their organization and repetition patterns and their undeniable religious connections. Even more, we propose to analyse the super–structure of the jewels and establish a religious and belief structure connection, for they usually are the representations —by themselves— of protective or magic symbols. This significance was retrieved from a quite com- plex belief system that began to take form more than five Millennia ago, and eventually helped to navigate the destinies of the Two Lands (&Awy). The main objective of this paper will be to address such questions as: «did every component of a piece have a specific religious and protective significance or only the conjugation of all the elements would be effec- tive?»; or «were these pieces used both as protective and as talismans in a world seemingly hostile?»; and finally a hypo- thesis will be presented, in trying to answer a somewhat broader question: «what made certain minerals, stones, colours or forms, part of the religious realm and deemed them usable as protective?». Several hypotheses can and will tend to surface, however, as the iron of a meteorite (biA) was frequently understood as a gift from the gods, it will be mainly on the members of the Egyptian Pantheon that we propose to find the most important part of the answers.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationEnvironment and Religion in Ancient and Coptic Egypt
Subtitle of host publicationSensing the Cosmos through the Eyes of the Divine
EditorsAlicia Maravelia, Nadine Guilhou
Place of PublicationOxford
PublisherArchaeopress
Pages331-341
Number of pages10
ISBN (Print)978-1-78969-639-4
Publication statusPublished - 2020
EventEgyptological Conference of the Hellenic Institute of Egyptology: Environment and Religion in Ancient and Coptic Egypt: Sensing the Cosmos through the Eyes of the Divine - Atenas, Greece
Duration: 1 Feb 20173 Feb 2017
Conference number: 1

Conference

ConferenceEgyptological Conference of the Hellenic Institute of Egyptology
CountryGreece
CityAtenas
Period1/02/173/02/17

Keywords

  • Ancient Egypt
  • Egyptians
  • Religion
  • Magic
  • Protection
  • Amulets
  • Talismans
  • Periapts
  • Jewels
  • Minerals
  • Stones
  • Iron
  • Gold
  • Silver
  • Lapis–lazuli
  • Turquoise
  • Carnelian
  • Colours
  • Symbolism

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