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Rare Egyptian Bronze Ib Heart Amulet

Pegasus Gallery Antiquities


A very unusual solid bronze Ib heart with surmounted suspension hole.

The Egyptians believed that the heart was the seat of intelligence, the originator of all feelings and actions, rather than the pumping of blood around the body. Heart amulets started in the New Kingdom with examples found in the tomb of Akhenaten's Vizier at Saqqara. By the time the Late Dynastic Period came along the heart amulet was the most important of all amulets and was placed on every mummy until the end of the Pharaonic Period. They appear in a wide variety of materials, the most common of which is carnelian, basalt, hematite and glazed compositions. The heart depicted as amulet is usually identified as the bull's heart rather than the human type. 

Four spells in the Book of the Dead ensured the heart's protection, and each was supposed to be inscribed on a heart-shaped amulet. Although most hearts amulets are uninscribed, their purpose was clearly the same.

Egypt,   Late Dynastic Period, Circa 500 BCE.

Size: 31mm H x 19mm W.

Conditon: Perfect. Small amount of patina. 

Ex. London Antiquities Dealer; purchased in 2009. Documents will accompany item.

In ancient Egypt, amulets were carried in a variety of ways including necklaces, bracelets , rings; and most importantly among the bandages of the mummy they were made to serve.

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