Ancient Egypt for Kids
What is an amulet? Amulets in ancient Egypt were little charms that offered protection. This is the definition of an ancient Egyptian amulet from The Met Museum: "An amulet is a small object that a person wears, carries, or offers to a deity (god) because he or she believes it will magically bestow a particular power or form of protection."
Amulets played a large part in ancient Egyptian religion and daily life. There were two kinds of amulets. One kind was made for the living, for daily life protection and encouragement. The other type was made for the dead, for mummified bodies. Both types of amulets were made of stone, metal, glass, clay, and faience (a ceramic material made from crushed quartz and other natural materials, covered with a blue or green glaze.) Some amulets were hand carved. Others were made using molds.
Many amulets in ancient Egypt were shaped like animals. Others were shaped like gods. Many were symbols, used to represent important things. For example, the lotus flower symbolized rebirth, or the coming of spring. A little charm shaped like an ancient Egyptian ankh symbolized life.
All amulets in ancient Egypt had definite shapes and meanings. You couldn't change the shape because you might change the meaning.
Jewelry was worn as amulets. Jewelers had to follow strict rules and colors to make sure the magical property of the amulet was not destroyed.
The ancient Egyptians truly believed that amulets had magical powers of protection and healing, and also brought good fortune.