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Amulet of the goddess Taweret
ca. 1075-656 B.C.E.


Third Intermediate Period

Faience (glazed composition)
H: 6.0 W: 2.0 D: 2.4 cm
Egypt

Gift of Charles Lang Freer F1907.21

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Small amulets of faience, stone, ceramic, metal, or glass, were common possessions in ancient Egypt. They were most often fashioned in the form of gods and goddesses or of animals sacred to those deities. Amulets gave their owners magical protection from a wide variety of ills and evil forces, including sickness, infertility, and death in childbirth. They were often provided with loops so they could be strung and worn like a necklace. Some amulets were made to place on the body of the deceased in order to protect the soul in the hereafter.

Taweret, the hippopotamus goddess, was the goddess of women and children and, most importantly, of the moment of childbirth. With her rounded belly and pendulous breasts indicating a pregnant female, Taweret was associated most specifically with childbirth, and she was often depicted watching over the birthing bed. Taweret amulets would have been worn during life by women and children. In the tomb, they were placed on the body of the deceased as a symbol of rebirth.