The Freud Museum


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3783, Vulture, Late Period; 716-332 B.C.; or later

Artist: Photographer: Ardon Bar Hama
Culture: Egyptian
Material: bronze
Dimensions: h. 1 in / 4.3 cm

Despite the now worn-through suspension ring, this vulture amulet was probably used as a votive offering. The Egyptians associated vultures with several gods. Mut, the Egyptian word for mother, is represented with a vulture symbol in hieroglyphics. The goddess Mut, one of the maternal guardians of the pharaoh, is typically depicted as a woman with a vulture headdress. Because of this, Freud’s vulture is more likely Nekhbut of Elkab, the principal tutelary goddess of Upper Egypt, who is represented by an actual vulture rather than a headdress.

In one of Freud’s texts, he analyzed the Egyptian concept of a vulture as a symbol of motherhood, and the androgynous features Mut sometimes took on.

See this object on our Collections site here 

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