Amulet in the form of a lion

A turquoise enamelled faience amulet in the form of a lion on a rectangular base. The animal is in the typical resting position according to Egyptian artistic canons: it is stretched out with its chest against the ground; the front legs stretched forward; the head raised and looking directly forward; the back legs bend and pulled up against the body with the tail lying next to a thigh.

The lion appeared in the form of an amulet over the entire period of Ancient Egypt. The animal was closely related to the sun and its creative force. It was also assimilated to the symbolic nature of the pharaoh, the son of the diurnal heavenly body, who was symbolically equipped with the strength of a lion. This is the reason why the pharaoh was frequently personified in the form of a sphinx, thus associating the intelligence of man with the powerful nature of the animal.

Lion amulets were made from a great variety of materials. They invoked the authority and protection of a divinity at the same time that they pointed to a participation in the solar cycle associated with the regeneration of that star, and therefore to life itself.

For the ancient Egyptians amulets were symbolic objects that conferred power or protection against a world of chaos and also during their journey to the Other World. Many of these amulets were small in size, so that they could be worn during the lifetime in a collar, or so that after death they could be placed among the bindings of the mummy.

The use of amulets is well documented in the Pre-Dynastic Period. Inscribed lists of them have been found in the Temple of Dendera and in the so-named Papyrus McGregor, where 75 different models of amulets with their form, function and meaning are cited.

Through the use of the word (very important for the ancient Egyptians) and the correct rituals, these objects received magic powers so that they could carry out the function of protection of those who wore them.


- LACOVARA, P. The Collector's Eye, Masterpieces of Egyptian Art from the Thalassic Collection, Ltd., MCCM, 2001, p. 156, n. 103ab.
- H. BLOESCH et al., Das Tier in der Antike, Archaologischen Institut der Universitat Zurich, 1974, p. 15, pl. 14, n. 80.

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