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Amulet

Amulet

  • Place of origin:

    Egypt (made)

  • Date:

    2nd century-3rd century (made)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Unknown

  • Materials and Techniques:

    Moulded, turquoise-glazed faience ware

  • Museum number:

    486-1891

  • Gallery location:

    Islamic Middle East, Room 42, The Jameel Gallery, case 1W

Amulets were meant to protect the owner from evil. This amulet takes the form of the head of Hercules, one of the most famous heroes of Classical mythology. In Egypt during the Roman period (30 BC-AD 639), Hercules was a symbol of power as well as of protection during times of war.

The turquoise glaze on this amulet was popular in the pre-Islamic Middle East. In Egypt, turquoise was associated with good fortune as the colour of the life-giving River Nile. Under Islam, the lucky associations of the blue-green colour persisted in an informal way.

Physical description

Moulded, turquoise-green glazed head of Hercules wearing the lion skin.

Place of Origin

Egypt (made)

Date

2nd century-3rd century (made)

Artist/maker

Unknown

Materials and Techniques

Moulded, turquoise-glazed faience ware

Dimensions

Height: 9.53 cm

Object history note

Bought by the Museum from WM Flinders-Petrie, for 12l. 6s, together with museum numbers 440 to 559-1891 inclusive

From Kom-Wushim or Rubaiyat, north-east of the Fayum, Middle Egypt.

Descriptive line

Moulded amulet in the form of the head of Hercules, Egypt, 2nd-3rd century AD.

Labels and date

Jameel Gallery

1–2 Turquoise Glaze

Turquoise glaze, which was made by adding copper, was popular in the pre-Islamic Middle East. In Egypt, turquoise was associated with good fortune as the colour of the life-giving River Nile. For this reason, it was used on amulets, which were meant to protect the owner from evil. Under Islam, the lucky associations of the blue-green colour persisted in an informal way.

2 Head of Hercules Amulet
Egypt, AD 100–300
Moulded faience with coloured glaze
Museum no. 486-1891
[Jameel Gallery]

Materials

Faience ware

Techniques

Moulded

Subjects depicted

Mythology

Categories

Amulets; Africa

Collection

Ceramics Collection

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