Amulet of the god Amun

Similar amulet pendants of Amun have been recovered from the royal tombs at Kurru and Nuri in Sudan, and Nubian royalty is often depicted wearing similarly impressive decorations. On the back of the figure is a loop for a chain so that the amulet could be worn around the neck.

The figure shows the god Amun with his crown surmounted by two ostrich plumes. At his neck he wears a pendant of the rising sun placed within a shrine. His broad hips and low-slung kilt are characteristic of similar Nubian figures.

He is shown with his proper right leg advanced, unlike most Egyptian figures, in which the proper left leg steps forward. It is made of gilded silver, which reflects the belief that the bones of the gods were silver and their flesh gold.

Amulet of Amun
Amulet of Amun

Amun, “the king of the gods”, was worshipped by both the ancient Egyptians and the ancient Nubians. His cult center in Nubia at the “holy mountain” of Gebel Barkal was second in size only to the great temple of Amun at Karnak.

As in Egypt, Amun was closely connected with kingship, and Nubian rulers were frequently called “beloved of Amun”. This remarkable amulet would have undoubtedly been worn by a Nubian king or queen.

Napatan Period, ca. 722-332 BC. Gilded silver. From Lower Nubia. Now in the Michael C. Carlos Museum. 2006.036.001