Snake-head Amulet

Period: Middle Kingdom

Dynasty: Dynasty 12–13

Date: ca. 1981–1640 B.C.

Geography: From Egypt, Memphite Region, Lisht North, Cemetery, MMA excavations

Medium: Carnelian

Dimensions: W. 0.7 x L. 1.6 cm (1/4 x 5/8 in.)

Credit Line: Rogers Fund, 1909

Accession Number: 09.180.2455


The cobra, a common inhabitant of the Nile River's floodplain, has a deadly bite. Wearing an amulet in the form of a cobra's head would have been considered an effective way to prevent an attack, an event feared by both the living and the dead. Amulets like this one were made for use in the afterlife.