This is the Wedjat; the magical symbol with the power to grant eternal life.
The Wedjat Eye is perhaps the best-known of all Egyptian protective symbols. The drop and spiral below the eye imitate the distinctive markings on a lanner falcon; the sacred birth associated with the god, Horus.
The story goes that Horus was badly wounded during one of his battles for the throne with Seth - his father's murderer. This time Seth has won the day after Horus tended to his injury: his left eye had been brutally plucked out. Using powerful magic, the eye was restored by Isis (or, in some stories, Hathor or Thoth).
The 'Eye of Horus' so come to symbolize healing and 'making whole'; the word 'Wedjat' literally meaning 'sound'.
The regenerative powers of the Wedjat was considered so powerful that it could even restore the dead to life. Wedjats were painted on coffins and placed among the wrappings of mummies so that the deceased may wake up, happy and healthy, in the afterlife.
This examples comes from the wooden coffin of a woman named Madja, who lived in Thebes during Egypt's prosperous New Kingdom.
Here the Wadjet sits protectively atop a chapel representing Madja's tomb and its door.
Madja herself is a mystery. Despite the expensive coffin and possessions she was buried with, Madja was not given any titles; not even the fairly standard 'Mistress of the House', by which every woman of any sort of social standing was referred.
Her name wasn't even Egyptian. She may have been one of the foreign nurses, musicians or dancers that were known to be in the service of the great Theban families.
Madja's beautiful coffin is today in the Louvre, Paris.