Flying Falcon Amulet of Amenemope

The falcon amulet of King Amenemope is represented stretching its wings and grasping the Shen sign to which two plaques bearing the cartouches of the king are attached.

The solid gold head is turned to the left. Other parts of the hawk such as the beak, the eyes, the back of the neck, and the decorations on the cheeks are in dark glass paste.

Flying Falcon Amulet of King Amenemope
Flying Falcon Amulet of King Amenemope

The wings, the body, and the tail of this bird of prey were executed using the cloisonné technique of applied gold threads and tiny beads. The wing feathers spread outwards and are arranged in two rows.

The high-flying raptor is associated with a number of deities, primary among whom was Horus. Originally a sun god identified as both guardian and earthly incarnation of the king, the Horus falcon is often interpreted in funerary contexts as a protector of the dead.

The Egyptians wore amulets both as jewelry and as protective devices to avert the many threats they faced in daily existence, such as illness, injury, and attack by an animal. Although the repertoire of amulets increased in scope as time progressed, a considerable variety was available even in the Predynastic Period.

Animals were favorite subjects. Representations of fierce and dangerous creatures may have been intended to defend against hostile forces or to impart to the wearer their strength, speed, and agility. The falcon would eventually become one of Egypt’s most popular protective symbols.

Third Intermediate Period, 21st Dynasty, reign of Amenemope, ca. 1001-992 BC. From the Tomb of Amenemope at Tanis. Now in the Egyptian Museum, Cairo. JE 86036