Tiny Egypt: ancient Egyptian amulets

Tiny Egypt is a personal project designed to highlight one of the most numerous types of artefact to have been found in Egypt: the humble amulet.

Found by the drawerful in many museum collections, amulets are easily overlooked in display cases due to their diminuitive size, yet would have been treasured by their ancient owners for their powers to protect.

In this project, I use a macro lens, which allows us to get up-close and personal with these skillfully produced, detailed pieces in a way the human eye struggles to. All the amulets I’ve photographed range between about 2–5 cm tall.

Sadly, many amulets were excavated or bought from dealers many years ago, their location and context not recorded, meaning we don’t know their original date and home.

Although each photo here has the size of the amulet in the caption, it can still be hard to get your head around how tiny these pieces are. So I hope this first photo of the Horus amulet, which I snapped with my mobile phone, puts it into a little more perspective more for you.

All photos are © Julia Thorne. Please don’t just take my photos, but if you’d like to use any in a lecture, presentation or blog post, please drop me an email via my contact page. If you share them on social media, a link back to this site or to one of my social media accounts would be brilliant. Thanks!

Photographing the 4 cm-tall faience amulet of Horus included in this gallery
ancient egyptian eye of horus amulet
Faience eye of Horus amulet. Composite image made from 5 photos using focus stacking [Garstang Museum of Archaeology | Acc. No. E.9186 | c. 2 cm]
ancient egyptian amulet of bes
Amulet of the god Bes. Composite image made from 25 photos using focus stacking [Garstang Museum of Archaeology | Acc. No. E.9004 | 40 mm]
ancient egyptian amulet of a baboon
Faience amulet of a seated baboon (Thoth or Babi?). Composite image made from 33 photos using focus stacking [Garstang Museum of Archaeology | Acc. No. E.9124 | 4.5 cm]
an ancient egyptian hedgehog amulet
Green faience hedgehog amulet. Composite image made from 23 photos using focus stacking [26th Dynasty | Garstang Museum of Archaeology | Acc. No. E.207 | 2.8 cm]
egyptian amulet of the god horus
Blue faience amulet of Horus. Composite image made from 66 photos using focus stacking [Garstang Museum of Archaeology | Acc. No. E.9185 | 5 cm]
ancient egyptian deity amulet
Faience amulet of a human-headed judgement deity. Composite image made from 16 photos using focus stacking [Garstang Museum of Archaeology | Acc. No. E.9289 | 2.7 x 1.2 cm]
ancient egyptian glass heart amulet
Blue and yellow glass heart amulet. Composite image made from 5 photos using focus stacking [Amarna | Garstang Museum of Archaeology | Acc. No. E.5606 | 2.4 cm]
ancient egyptian amulet of thoth
Green faience amulet of Thoth. Composite image made from 35 photos using focus stacking [Garstang Museum of Archaeology | c. 4 cm]
ancient egyptian amuletof anubis
Bronze Anubis supporting a tyet. Composite image made from 30 photos using focus stacking [Garstang Museum of Archaeology | Acc. No. E.9290 | 5 cm]
ancient egyptian amulet of hor-bes
Faience amulet of Hor-bes: Bes with ram's horns and Horus's falcon's tail. Composite image made from 25 photos using focus stacking [Garstang Museum of Archaeology | Acc. No. E.9125 | 3.4 cm]

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