Before the Third Intermediate Period, headrest amulets are found only in royal burials; Tutankhamen owned one of iron, as did Prince Hornakht and King Sheshonq II at Tanis. However, from the Saite Period onward, they are extremely common made almost exclusively of hematite (such as this example) or a dark-colored substitute such as basalt, serpentine, obsidian or diorite. It was essentially intended magically to raise up the head of the deceased in resurrection, just as the sun god was raised above the eastern horizon each morning. However, Chapter 166 further reveals that it would also prevent the deceased head from being cut off, a much-feared fate against which Chapter 43 was specifically directed.
Dimensions: Height: 13/16 x 1/2" (2 x 1.3 cm)
Condition: Very minor wear to extremities otherwise intact and in very good condition overall
Provenance: Private NY collection, on loan to the Michael C. Carlos Museum, Emory University, Atlanta GA 1998 - 2015, loan number: L1998.062.039