Double ba bird amulet

Napatan Period, reign of Taharqa
690–664 B.C.

Findspot: Nubia (Sudan), Meroe, W 609, No. 14


Height: 3.3 cm (1 5/16 in.)

Accession Number


Medium or Technique


Not On View


Jewelry, The Ancient World



The ancient Nubians, like the Egyptians, believed that the dead would continue to exist after death in a number of different forms. The ba, a mobile, energetic life force that was believed to able to travel to and from the world of the living, was portrayed either as a human-headed bird or a winged human wearing a solar disk on his or her head. The latter form was more common in Nubia. This amulet shows a pair of ba figures. Originally the amulet was a deeper blue-green glazed faience, but the glaze has now faded and there are brown incrustations.


From Meroe (Beg. W) 609, No.14. 1923: excavated by the Harvard University–Boston Museum of Fine Arts Expedition; assigned to the MFA in the division of finds by the government of Sudan.

Credit Line

Harvard University—Boston Museum of Fine Arts Expedition