Amulet of the God Nehebkau

Nehebkau, often depicted as a male with a snake head, was originally the explanation of the cause of binding of Ka and Ba after death. Thus his name, which means (one who) brings together Ka and Ba. Since these aspects of the soul were said to bind after death, Nehebkau was said to have guarded the entrance to Duat, the underworld.

Nehebkau was ultimately considered a powerful, benevolent and protective deity. In late mythology, he is described as a companion of the sun god Re and an attendant of the deceased King.

Gold Amulet of the God Nehebkau
Gold Amulet of the God Nehebkau

As he is so closely associated with the sun god, his name was evoked in magical spells for protection. His festival was widely celebrated throughout the Middle and New Kingdoms.

Nehebkau is the “original snake” of Egyptian mythology, and was believed to be both an ancient and eternal god. Although he is occasionally represented as a son of Serket, Renenutet or Geb, he is sometimes believed to have simply “emerged from the earth”. He was believed to have lived in the Great Temple of Heliopolis, which was also the center of worship for Re and Atum.

Late Period, 26th to 30th Dynasty, ca. 664-332 BC. Now in the Art Institute of Chicago. 1894.962

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