Egyptian Mummy Eye
Warding off evil
This is a Yorkshire World Collections object, one of 100 chosen by young people aged 16-24, as part of the London Cultural Olympiad programme Stories of the World.
This object is an eye from an Egyptian Mummy cartonnage (funeral mask), believed to be from an Egyptian statue. The eye was a powerful symbol in Ancient Egypt. It was used to ward off evil, as Ancient Egyptians believed the eye reflected the evil back onto the evil-doer. Sailors would paint the eye on their ships in the hope that it would protect them during their voyages.
The Eye of Horus:
Where did this object come from?
Young person's response to this object:'It’s extremely old but well preserved and although the colours may not be as vibrant as they used to be they are still there', Fathia Alesinloye.
What do you think ‘ward off evil’ means?
Why do you think the Egyptians believed the eye could get rid of evil?
What symbol would you use to 'ward off evil'?
Can you think of any other symbols used in this way by other cultures?
Why do you think the story of Horus' eye was important to Ancient Egyptian people?
How do you think the idea of the eye as protection helped them?
Research other examples of Egyptian eyes held in museums (eg. use the 3D viewer from the Petrie Museum website, link below) and compare them to this one.
Explore the different gods and stories in Ancient Egyptian mythology and relate them to museum artefacts.
Taking inspiration from Egyptian mythology and examples of ancient artefacts, design your own Egyptian masks/faces/eyes.