A pendant depicting a ba-bird with outstretched wings

Late Period

On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 127

Ba-bird amulets, like this rare beautifully inlaid example, were placed on the chest of a mummy, presumably as protective substitute for an individual’s own ba. The ba-bird was the part of a human activated after death: it was commissioned to visit the world of living as well as oversee critical events during the deceased’s passage from this world to the next. The earliest, a gold foil example, was included in Tutankhamun’s mummy (ca. 1327 B.C.), but those of Dynasty 26 and later (664-332 B.C.), parallel the one here.

A pendant depicting a ba-bird with outstretched wings, Gold, lapis lazuli, turquoise, carnelian

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