Like most Egyptian amulets, janiform pieces were worn to pass on the apotropaic properties of the gods depicted to their wearers.
The dwarf god Pataikos was believed to have been a protection deity. He was considered the son of the craftsman’s god, Ptah, and his name is presumed to originate from discussions by Herodotus. Pataikos essentially means ‘little Ptah’. Pataikos is associated with violent forces; Egyptian artwork depicts him walking over snakes and crocodiles, or grasping them in his hands, in some instances he has a scarab beetle on the top of his head. His protective and fierce qualities were believed to ward off evils that may result in injuries, illnesses or misfortune. He is also often associated and depicted with the dwarf god Bes, appearing together on amulets.
The Egyptian god Ra was an important deity in the Egyptian pantheon. Primarily he was a sun god, hence the sun-disk iconography represented here. As his importance grew he was associated with all aspects of the created world; the sun, the sky and the Earth. Portrayed as a falcon-headed god, he bore similarities with Horus. As time progressed the two gods were combined, to form Ra-Horakhty. it is has been suggested that this is more of a title, to portray the similarities between the two gods. The phrase translates as “Ra [who is] Horus of the Horizons”.
To find out more about Ancient Egyptian amulets please see our relevant blog post: Egyptian Amulets and their Meanings: Ancient Egyptian Gods.