Apotropaic rod

Middle Kingdom

On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 111

Composed of four joining segments, this so-called magic rod is the only completely preserved example of its type. Perhaps related to the four "birthing bricks" arranged for the protection of mother and child during delivery, the rod was used to ward off harmful spirits. Some of the protective motifs—feline predators, crocodiles, toads, a turtle, wedjat eyes, and baboons with flaming torches—were also depicted on apotropaic wands and feeding cups, objects with the same defensive function.

#1119. Magic rod with animals on top

Apotropaic rod, Glazed steatite

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