Pair of udjat eyes of Horus, Dyn. 18

Pair of udjat eyes of Horus, Dyn. 18
Period:Egypt, New Kingdom, Dynasty 18
Dating:1570 BC–1293 BC
Origin:Egypt, Upper Egypt, Thebes
Material:Faience (all types)
Physical:5.5cm. (2.1 in.) -

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Links to others from Dynasty 18

Alabaster unguent jar, Dyn. 18
Alabaster unguent vase, Dyn. 18
Amenhotep III as Amun-Min, Dyn 18
Amulet of Bes, Dyn. 18
Amulet of god Thoth as a Baboon, Dyn. 18
Anthropomorphic mirror handle, Dyn. 18
Basalt shawabti of a king, early Dyn. 18
Blue faience ring, udjat eye, Dyn. 18
Blue faience shawabti, Dyn.18
Bronze Horus sarcophagus, Dyn.18
Bronze insigna-pendant of Atum, Dyn. 18
Bronze of a king as Osiris, Dyn. 18
Bronze of Sakhmet seated, early Dyn. 18
Bronze statuette of Apis, Dyn. 18
Cartonnage of Princess Baket, Dyn. 18
Cartouche ring of Akhenaten, Dyn. 18
Carved face from a sarcophagus, Dyn. 18
Carved face from a sarcophagus, N.K.
Copper inlay for a box, Dyn. 18
Divine scarab, reign of Thutmose IV
Enameled feathers of Amun, Dyn. 18
Extensible bronze bracelet, Dyn. 18
Faience ear ornament, Dyn. 18
Foundation marker from Amenhotep III
Funerary box (panel), Dyn. 18-33
Gilded ib, heart amulet, Dyn.18
Gilded mkrt, snake amulet, Dyn. 18
Gilded ‘tit’ (girdle of Isis) amulet, Dyn. 18
Granite cartouche of Akhenaten, Dyn. 18
Head, realistic portrait in stone, Dyn 18
Horus-the-Child as a ruling king, Dyn. 18
Ibis-headed Thoth with human body, Dyn.18
King Amenhotep II (?) as Amun-Re, Dyn. 18
King Horemheb as a sphinx, Dyn. 18
King Horemheb as Amun-Re, Dyn. 18
King wearing the royal headdress, Dyn. 18
Limestone shawabti, early Dyn. 18
Lotus necklace terminal, Egypt, Dyn. 18
Monumental bronze feather, Dyn. 18
Mummy mask of a young woman, Dyn. 18
Nekhbet, vulture-goddess of Nekheb
New Year’s flask for sacred water, Dyn.18
Osiris, King of the Afterlife, Dyn. 18
Osiris of an unknown king, Dyn. 18 (?)
Osiris-Neper, god of agriculture, Dyn. 18
Palm leaf amulet, Dyn. 18-19
Palm leaf amulet, Dyn. 18-19
Pillar capital, Hathor, Dyn. 18
Polychrome glass cup, Dyn 18
Queen as Goddess Mut, Dyn.18
Queen Hatshepsut as Goddess Mut, Dyn. 18
Queen Hatshepsut as Hathor, Dyn. 18
Queen Isis as Isis nursing Thutmose III
Royal situla, sacred water vessel, Dyn.18
Royal wooden sarcophagus lid, Dyn. 18
Sakhmet amulet pendant, Dyn. 18
Sarcophagus of a king, Dyn. 18
Sarcophagus of a queen, Dyn. 18
Scarab “begets the existence of Amun”
Scarab of protection, Dyn. 18
Scarab of Thutmose III, Dyn. 18
Scarab of Thutmose III, Dyn. 18
Scarab of Thutmose III, Dyn. 18
Scarab of Thutmose III, Dyn. 18
Scarab of Thutmose III, Dyn. 18
Scarab of Thutmose III, Dyn. 18
Scarab of Thutmose III, Dyn. 18
Scarab of Thutmose III, Dyn. 18
Scarab of Thutmose III, Dyn. 18
Scarab of Thutmose III, Dyn. 18
Scarab with Amun-Re, solar discs, Dyn. 18
Scarab with ‘Ba’, Dyn. 18
Scarab with “faith in Justice,” Dyn. 18
Scarab with Goddess Hathor
Scarab with Horus of the Horizon, Dyn. 18
Scarab with ‘nsw-bity’, Dyn. 18
Scarab with ‘sa’ singing birds, Dyn. 18
Shawabti of Amen, vizier of Amenhotep III
Shawabti of Queen Mutemwia. Dyn.18
Signet-ring of Tutankhamun, Dyn. 18
Statuette of a privileged man, Dyn. 18
Stone bust of a scribe, Dyn. 18
Stone shawabti of a Nubian viceroy, Dyn. 18
Stone statue of King Thutmose III, Dyn. 18
Two cobras from the queen’s crown
Udjat eye amulet-pendant, Dyn. 18
Uninscribed wooden shawabti, Dyn. 18
Uraeus from a royal crown, Dyn. 18
Wood statue of King Smenkhkare, Dyn. 18
Wooden sarcophagus lid, Dyn. 18
Wooden sarcophagus lid, Dyn.18
Wooden sarcophagus lid, Dyn. 18

Links to others representing Horus

Bronze Horus sarcophagus, Dyn.18
Falcon sarcophagus with Osiris mummy
Horus, Lord of the Two Lands. N.K.
Horus-the-Child, 1070-774 BC
Horus-the-Child, Alexandria, 100-30 BC
Horus-the-Child, Alexandria, 304-30 BC
Horus-the-Child as a ruling king, Dyn. 18
Horus-the-Child as Amun, 776-656 BC
Horus-the-Child, Dyn.19, 1300-1200 BC
Horus-the-Child, Dyn. 25, 776-656 BC
Horus-the-Child, heir to the king, Dyn. 26
Horus-the-child, Meroe, 590-300 BC
Horus-the-Child, Ptolemaic, 200-100 BC
Horus-the-Child, Ptolemaic, 304-30 BC
Horus-the-Child riding a swan, 304-31 BC
Wood statuette of Horus stiding, Dyn. 11
Wooden sarcophagus lid, Dyn. 26

Links to others of type Udjat Eye

Twenty-eight udjat eyes amulet, Dyn. 25
Udjat eye amulet-pendant, Dyn. 18
Udjat eye amulet-pendant, Dyn. 23
Udjat eye amulet-pendant, Dyn. 23
Udjat eye amulet-pendant, Dyn. 25
Udjat eye amulet-pendant, Dyn. 25
Udjat eye amulet-pendant, Dyn. 26
Udjat eye amulet-pendant, Dyn. 26
Udjat eye amulet-pendant, Dyn. 26
Udjat eye amulet-pendant, Old Kingdom
Udjat eye amulet-pendant, Old Kingdom
  These amulets are a matched pair of udjat eyes of Horus in deep blue faience from Dynasty 18.

Flinders Petrie classifies a similar udjat as Type 139 E, “unusual types, in square form” (1914:33, Plate XXV).

Udjat Eye
Instantly recognizable, the Udjat Eye (also wedjat, uzat) remained one of the most popular amuletic symbols from the Old Kingdom to Roman times. Although Egyptians designed countless variations on the theme over this 2500 year period, the basic design remained constant: the eye of the God Horus, drawn as a human eye with a cosmetic line extending from the outer corner of the eye, an enhanced eyebrow line, and a stylized marking below the eye evoking the cheek of a falcon.

The Udjat eye (the Egyptian word means “sound”, “whole”, “undamaged”) was reputed for its great healing and protective power. But, as noted by Hart (1986:93), it has many meanings, including “The strength of the monarch, the concept of kingship, protection against Seth [chaos], royal purification agent, wine, and offerings at the festival of the waxing moon.” The tales that account for the source of this extraordinary power are varied and colorful.

Egyptian sources document the protracted relentless fight (both in a court of law and in violent physical encounters) between Horus and Seth to settle who should inherit Egypt. Said to have lasted 80 years, this brawl yielded countless anecdotes. In one of them, Seth gouged out Horus’ left eye (you can hardly blame him, as Horus had assaulted his mother for refusing to harpoon him while they were transformed into hippopotamuses). Fortunately, Goddess Hathor intervened and healed the eye with the therapeutic application of gazelle milk (an alternate version makes the god Toth the healer, and another indicates royal saliva as the therapeutic agent of choice). However it really happened, this conveniently restored eye thus became a symbol of miraculous healing. For good measure, a later epilogue describes Horus offering his healed eye to his dead father Osiris, immediately bringing him back to life.

While the unscathed right eye of Horus symbolized the sun, the plucked and then restored left eye symbolized the moon, with the phases of the moon reflecting the damaged, plucked, healing, and healed conditions of the eye over time. Strangely, despite the symbolic importance of this healed left eye, Udjat eyes can be either left or right eyes, and often are a pair.

“Its great protective qualities can be seen from the fact that it was often depicted on the plate which covered the embalming incision on the mummy’s flank. Not only would it prevent malign influences entering, but it would also magically heal the wound. The wedjat is probably found in greater number in mummies than any other amulet, but, of course, it could also be worn in life” (Andrews 1994:43).

“The earliest wedjats are mostly very stylized… Elaborate glazed-composition wedjats… first occur in the New Kingdom. The most ornate, however, date to the Third Intermediate Period and the Twenty-fifth Dynasty… finger rings and scaraboids with their backs carved in the shape of a wedjat are typical of the Nineteenth Dynasty… If one wedjat gave protection, multiple wedjats would furnish even mor during the Third Intermediate Period… Yet while all these highly decorated types of wedjats were being produced, the basic form continued to be made. . .” (Andrews 1994:44).

Petrie (1914) classifies Udjat eyes into five types, numbered 138 though 142, each subdivided into varieties labeled with capital letters.

Amulets are objects generally kept on the person that are believed to confer some benefit to the wearer. While turn of the century archeologist Flinders Petrie (1914) enraged that “the belief in the magic effect of inanimate objects on the course of events is one of the lower stages of the human mind in seeking for principles of natural action. . .”, he had to concede that the use of amulets, talismans, and charms is very ingrained in many cultures to the present day. Many of us use lucky pens and wear religious medals without believing literally in their powers to affect our lives. But we still use them. They help us muster the confidence we need in times of self doubt. They empower us to dare, to believe in ourselves, to heal ourselves. Egyptians may have felt the same way. They used amulets on themselves and on their dead. Egyptians also seem to have had a passion for jewelry, and amulets were a good excuse to wear more jewelry.

Egyptians created an astonishing variety of amulets. The Dendera Amulets List, engraved on the thickness of a temple doorway, shows 104 different amulets for funerary use. The MacGregor Papyrus shows and names each one (Andrews 1994:7). Petrie described some 270 kinds of amulets in his 1914 monograph on the subject, and yet it was published before the excavation of many sites rich in amulets! He devised a classification system which, for all its flaws, is useful and still stands as no worse than any devised since to put order in that which defies classification: “The various ascertained meanings may be completely put in order under five great classes… (I) the amulets of Similars which are for influencing similar parts, or functions, or occurrences, for the wearer; (II) the amulets of Powers, for conferring powers and capacities, especially upon the dead; (III) the amulets of Property, which are entirely derived from the funeral offerings, and are thus peculiar to Egypt; (IV) the amulets for Protection, such as charms and curative amulets; (V) the figures of Gods, connected with the worship of the gods and their functions… Our classes then are here called amulets of
Similars, or Homopoeic.
Powers or Dynatic.
Property or Ktematic.
Protection or Phylactic.
Gods or Theophoric.”
(Petrie 1914:6 #17)

The evolution of amulets follows a fairly logical path. The first amulets were natural objects such as shells, and symbolically charged body parts of animals, such as claws from birds of prey. Then, still in predynastic times, we find figurines of significant animals, such as the hippopotamus, falcon, and jackal. Through the Old Kingdom, there was a development of animal forms with increasing levels of sophistication, and by the middle of the Old Kingdom we find the abstract symbolic subjects (such as the Ankh (sign meaning “life”), the Udjat eye of Horus, the Djed pillar, and the scarab) which remain some of the most emblematic symbols of Egyptian culture. During the First Intermediate Period we find amulets representing human body parts (ear, tongue, hand, arm, phallus, leg, heart...). The Middle Kingdom expanded the whole range of objects and gave the scarab its final form. But despite this considerable repertoire, amulets representing major gods remained rare until the end of the New Kingdom, at which time they suddenly flourished, and became as a group the most prevalent type until the end of Dynastic history. (Andrews 1994)

Bibliography (for this item)

Petrie, W.M. Flinders
1914 Amulets. Constable & Company, London, UK. (32)

Bibliography (on Udjat Eye)

Andrews, Carol
1994 Amulets of Ancient Egypt. University of Texas Press, Texas. (43,69)

Armour, Robert A.
2001 Gods and Myths of Ancient Egypt. 2nd edition. American University in Cairo Press, Cairo, Egypt. (175)

Hart, George
1986 A Dictionary of Egyptian Gods and Goddesses. Routledge & Kegan Paul, London, United Kingdom. (93)

Petrie, W.M. Flinders
1914 Amulets. Constable & Company, London, UK. (33)

Shaw, Ian, and Paul Nicholson
1995 The Dictionary of Ancient Egypt. British Museum Press, London, United Kingdom. (133)

Bibliography (on Amulet)

Andrews, Carol
1994 Amulets of Ancient Egypt. University of Texas Press, Texas.

Petrie, W.M. Flinders
1914 Amulets. Constable & Company, London, UK.

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