Phallic amulet

An erotic amulet made from white limestone, still showing some of its red decoration. This is a small piece portraying a naked man seated on a rectangular base. We see a greatly enlarged phallus, one out of all proportion on the ground between his legs. The man is holding a curious object which cannot be identified. According to various interpretations, and taking into account similar pieces, this may be a musical instrument – perhaps a harp - , a small stele, a piece of papyrus with some magic inscription, or a vase of some sort.

Erotic amulets in which the sexual power was emphasized may have been used to favour fertility or masculine virility.

Sexual images in Egypt can be found in all periods of its history, but it was during the Late Period that these schematized figures in red painted limestone reach the high of their popularity among the public. There also exist examples in faience in green tones. The highest point of popularity was during the Roman domination, as the assimilation of cultures meant they introduced their popular beliefs about sexuality, and their representations of these beliefs, into Nile society.

Although numerous similar examples can be found in the major art museums, the master piece of this type is to be found in the Brooklyn Museum, where a set of erotic sculpture mixes popular religion with one of the main myths of Ancient Egypt, the myth of Osiris and the birth of the god Horus.

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