An Egyptian Carnelian Wedjat Eye, Late Period, ca. 664 - 332 BCE
Without doubt, the best-known of all protective amulets is the wedjat, literally 'the sound one', referring to the eye of the falcon-headed Horus after it had been plucked out during one of his interminable battles with Seth and then healed by Thoth. This Horus was the celestial falcon and great creator god whose right eye was the sun and left eye the moon. It is generally supposed that the wedjat was the moon eye, which was 'injured' as it waned and 'restored' as it waxed each month, but the term might just as well apply to the sun eye, the 'sound ' one as opposed to the 'injured' one. When Osiris rose to pre-eminence as the god of the dead, the wedjat became identified with the eye of his son Horus.
According to the Osiris myth, Horus offered the healed eye to his dead father and so powerful a charm was it that it restored him to life. The wedjat is found in greater numbers on mummies than any other amulet, but, it was also worn in life. This finely rendered example is carved from fiery orange-red carnelian associated with blood, thus connecting the protective powers of the amulet with energy, dynamism, and power.
Bibliography: Andrews, Carol, 1994. Amulets of Ancient Egypt. Austin: University of Texas. p. 43-4.
Dimensions: Length: 7/8 inch (2.01 cm)
Condition: Two minor chips to the edge that do not detract, overall in very good condition. Mounted as a pendant on an adjustable chain of 18K yellow gold.
Provenance: Private Maryland collection of a diplomat, acquired while serving in Egypt between 1949 and 1956, and then by descent.
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