Tyt Amulet (The Divine Knot of Isis)

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Tyt! Another mystical sign of the Goddess Isis. A beautiful, magical amulet of life.

The Tjet (Tyet, Tet, Tit, Tat, That, Thet) is also commonly known as the Isis knot or Isis girdle. Some commentators have argued that the symbol was originally a variant of the Ankh also here. It has a similar appearance (except its “arms” are bent downwards) and could also have a similar meaning, sometimes being translated as “life”. As a hieroglyph, it represented the Tjet amulet.

Decoration detail: tomb of prince Khaemwaset, son of Ramses III, in the Queens Valley, Luxor West Bank, Egypt
agefotostock

This divine presence was dedicated to Khâemouaset, as we read the story here, thanks to Marie Grillot. 🙏💖

A “Tyt” Amulet of Khâemouaset, son of Ramses II

via égyptophile

Amulet Tyt (knot of Isis) from Khâemouaset – red jasper – New Kingdom – 19th dynasty
Discovered on his mummy, in 1851, in the “small underground” of the Serapeum in Saqqara by Auguste Mariette
Department of Egyptian Antiquities of the Louvre Museum – E 2990 B – inventory number: N 759
entered the collections in 1853 by “acquisition sharing after excavations” – photo © 1996 Musée du Louvre / Christian Larrieu

This Tyt, or “knot of Isis” amulet, 7.3 cm high and 3 cm wide, is finely worked in red jasper. The column of hieroglyphs that it bears indicates the name of the deceased to whom it is dedicated: “The great (or the superior) of the craftsmen, the priest-sem (and) son of the king, Khaemouaset”.

Born of Queen Isis-Nofret, Khâemouaset was the fourth son of Ramses II. If he is immortalized near his father on battle scenes in the sovereign’s temples, he will not be destined for a military career. Indeed, by a “paternal” decision – motivated by “political” reasons – he will be appointed to the pontificate of Ptah in Memphis. Thus he will begin very early “his priestly career with the god,” which was mainly for Ramses II “an excellent way to monitor closely and in complete confidence the power of the great theological centres whose riches were also recorded throughout the reign. ” (Christian Leblanc, “Ramses II and the Ramesseum”).

Funerary mask of Prince Khâemouaset – gold – New Kingdom – 19th dynasty

Discovered on his mummy, in 1851, in the “small underground” of the Serapeum in Saqqara by Auguste Mariette

Department of Egyptian Antiquities of the Louvre Museum – E 2291 – photo©1990 Louvre Museum/Christian Larrieu

This prince, who became the high priest of Ptah, left the memory of an intelligent and erudite man. “The main originality of Khâemouaset was his extraordinary taste for ancient things. He had the monuments of the Old Kingdom restored at Saqqara, Giza and Abusir”… Among his many actions and reforms, he “modified the mode of burial of bulls Apis at the Serapeum” (Christophe Barbotin, Elisabeth David “The ABCdary of Ramses II”).

It is there, precisely in the “small underground passages”, that Auguste Mariette will discover his tomb by chance, in 1851, among the tombs of the Apis… “it could be that the mummy from which I collected the remains, instead to be that of an Apis, was that of Prince Kha-em-uas himself. Imagine a mummy of human form, destroyed in all its lower parts from the chest. A thick mask of gold covered the face. Around the neck were passed two chains of gold, from one of which three amulets were suspended….” This is one of them… Until now, Egyptologists remain perplexed about this place of burial of the prince because it is not certain that his first tomb was in another place, which would mean that the location where Auguste Mariette found these remains in disorder would rather correspond to a reburial that occurred later. The excavations to be undertaken by the Louvre Museum in this part of the Serapeum may help to solve this enigma.

Amulet Tyt (knot of Isis) from Khâemouaset – red jasper – New Kingdom – 19th dynasty

Discovered on his mummy, in 1851, in the “small underground” of the Serapeum in Saqqara by Auguste Mariette

Department of Egyptian Antiquities of the Louvre Museum – E 2990 B – inventory number: N 759

entered the collections in 1853 by “acquisition sharing after excavations” – photo © 1996 Musée du Louvre / Christian Larrieu

In “The precious stones of Pharaonic Egypt, the example of the jewels of the Serapeum of Memphis”, Christiane Ziegler thus presents the amulets “Tyt” (“knot of Isis”) whose existence is attested from the Old Kingdom: “In red stone, they often carry an engraved text, in connection with the blood of the goddess Isis. They are in connection with the myth of Osiris, assassinated, then dismembered by his brother Seth, and whose members gathered by his wife Isis will then be reanimated thanks to her magic power”.

Amulet Tyt (knot of Isis) from Khâemouaset – red jasper – New Kingdom – 19th dynasty

Discovered on his mummy, in 1851, in the “small underground” of the Serapeum in Saqqara by Auguste Mariette

Department of Egyptian Antiquities of the Louvre Museum – E 2990 B – inventory number: N 759 (entered the collections in 1853, by “acquisition sharing after excavations” – photo © 1996 Louvre Museum / Christian Larrieu

published here in Auguste Mariette “Le Sérapéum de Memphis”

Its appearance is difficult to describe, but in “Ancient Egypt and its gods”, Jean-Pierre Corteggiani manages to give this rather evocative image of it: “It has the shape of an ansée cross whose two lateral branches would be flattened loops falling on either side of the vertical branch”. And he recalls that, in the Book of the Dead, the ‘Formula for the Knot-Tyt’ recommends threading it on a thread of sycamore fibre, then placing it around the neck of the mummy on the day of the burial: thus adorned, the deceased is assured, by virtue of the words to be pronounced, that “the magic power of Isis will be the protection of his body”.

This “Knot of Isis” by Khâemouaset entered the Department of Egyptian Antiquities of the Louvre Museum in 1853 by “acquisition sharing after excavations” under the main number: E 2990 B (inventory number: N 759)…

Marie Grillot

Sources:

Amulet of Khâemouaset https://collections.louvre.fr/ark:/53355/cl010008595

Paul Pierret, Catalog of the Historic Room of the Egyptian Gallery, Paris, 1882, p. 128, No. 539.

Auguste Mariette, The Serapeum of Memphis, Paris, Gide, 1857, p. 15, pl. 20.

Christian Leblanc, Ramses II and the Ramesseum, L’Harmattan, Paris, 2019.

Gods, tombs, a scholar. In Egypt in the footsteps of Mariette Pacha, Boulogne-sur-Mer (External, France), Château-musée, 10/05/2004 – 30/08/2004.

Christophe Barbotin, Elisabeth David, The ABCdary of Ramses II, Flammarion, Paris, 1997.

Christiane Ziegler, The precious stones of Pharaonic Egypt, the example of the jewels of the Serapeum of Memphis, in Bulletin of the National Society of Antiquaries of France, 1996, 1999, pp. 244-251

Jean-Pierre Corteggiani, Ancient Egypt and its gods, Paris, 2007.

Isabelle Franco, Dictionary of Egyptian Mythology, Paris, 2013.

13 thoughts on “Tyt Amulet (The Divine Knot of Isis)

  1. These posts are amazing Aladin! Thank you so much for sharing another of Marie’s fascinating Egyptian posts. Her attention to detail, whatever she’s discussing is quite remarkable. And although I’ve never been to Egypt myself, like many, I’m interested in all of its mythology, especially those Egyptian gods and goddesses. Probably to do with my mother’s ancestry being traced back to the people known as the “Sea Pirates” which I think came out of Egypt even though my mother’s more recent family came from Russia. It’s all so fascinating! Love and light, Deborah.

    Liked by 1 person

    • You say that, my lovely friend. The details, and it can only be described so beautiful by a woman, who else. 🤗 and with your or our all family heritage, there are many unanswered qualities which we might find them in our past, or even in Egypt 😉. Thank you ever and ever more. 🥰🙏❤️🫂

      Liked by 1 person

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