Skip Navigation


Egyptian, Classical, Ancient Near Eastern Art

On View: Egyptian Orientation Gallery, 3rd Floor

Earrings were a late arrival in Egypt.

They first appeared in the Middle Kingdom—probably introduced from Nubia or western Asia—but did not become popular until early in the Eighteenth Dynasty. By that time, in the truly cosmopolitan civilization of the New Kingdom, men, women, and children of high social standing all wore earrings. Perhaps because they originated in a foreign culture, earrings seem to have had no protective function for the Egyptians, unlike other jewelry. The principal forms of earrings included hoops, “boats,” plugs, and studs. All four types were attached to the ear through a hole piercing the lobe.
MEDIUM Egyptian alabaster
  • Place Excavated: Balabish, Egypt
  • DATES ca. 1478–1425 B.C.E.
    DYNASTY Dynasty 18
    PERIOD New Kingdom
    DIMENSIONS 15.500a: 15/16 x diam. 13/16 in. (2.4 x 2 cm) 15.500b: 9/16 x diam. 1/2 in. (1.4 x 1.3 cm)  (show scale)
    ACCESSION NUMBER 15.500a-b
    CREDIT LINE Gift of the Egypt Exploration Fund
    CATALOGUE DESCRIPTION Alabaster ear-stud (?) made in two separate pieces. Mushroom-shape with conical plug on under side; second piece same shape but smaller with hollow cylinder on under side to receive plug of larger piece. Fine work and unusual type. Condition: Cylinder of 15.500b chipped.
    MUSEUM LOCATION This item is on view in Egyptian Orientation Gallery, 3rd Floor
    CAPTION Plug, ca. 1478–1425 B.C.E. Egyptian alabaster, 15.500a: 15/16 x diam. 13/16 in. (2.4 x 2 cm). Brooklyn Museum, Gift of the Egypt Exploration Fund, 15.500a-b. Creative Commons-BY (Photo: Brooklyn Museum, CUR.15.500a_erg456.jpg)
    IMAGE component, CUR.15.500a_erg456.jpg. Brooklyn Museum photograph, 7/16/2007
    "CUR" at the beginning of an image file name means that the image was created by a curatorial staff member. These study images may be digital point-and-shoot photographs, when we don\'t yet have high-quality studio photography, or they may be scans of older negatives, slides, or photographic prints, providing historical documentation of the object.
    RIGHTS STATEMENT Creative Commons-BY
    You may download and use Brooklyn Museum images of this three-dimensional work in accordance with a Creative Commons license. Fair use, as understood under the United States Copyright Act, may also apply. Please include caption information from this page and credit the Brooklyn Museum. If you need a high resolution file, please fill out our online application form (charges apply). For further information about copyright, we recommend resources at the United States Library of Congress, Cornell University, Copyright and Cultural Institutions: Guidelines for U.S. Libraries, Archives, and Museums, and Copyright Watch. For more information about the Museum's rights project, including how rights types are assigned, please see our blog posts on copyright. If you have any information regarding this work and rights to it, please contact
    Not every record you will find here is complete. More information is available for some works than for others, and some entries have been updated more recently. Records are frequently reviewed and revised, and we welcome any additional information you might have.