Two Finger Amulet

This amulet depicts two finger that are about life-size. Two finger amulets were used exclusively for the dead and were often found placed on the embalming incision, which was made during the mummification process.

These amulets were meant magically to heal the wound. The first examples of this amulet type date to 26th Dynasty, ca. 664-525 BC. Their preferred material was obsidian or other dark stones. Sometimes the amulets were gilded, and faint traces of gilding are present on this example.

Obsidian two finger amulet
Two finger amulet

The two finger amulet, which represents the index and middle fingers, usually with nails and joints clearly defined, is always made of a dark stone such as basalt, obsidian or steatite, or else of black glass, and occurs only in Late Period burials.

Its frequent location on the torso near the embalming incision has led to the suggestion that it represents the two fingers of the embalmer.

It is a pure funerary amulet and never occurs with a loop for suspension. The amulet is most often found near the incision in the belly, which was made to extract the intestines. Maybe this amulet was intended to close the incision and thus emphasize the new wholeness of the body.

Late Period, ca. 664-332 BC. Now in the Private Collection.