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Cowrie-Shaped Amulet in Gold Ring

Egyptian, Classical, Ancient Near Eastern Art

Because the cowrie shell resembles female genitalia, the Egyptians believed it could magically ensure procreative powers. Wealthy Egyptians frequently wore cowroids mounted in gold rings. The design on the bottom of this cowroid is carved in a style frequently found on Hyksos scarabs.

MEDIUM Steatite, glaze, gold
  • Place Collected: Egypt
  • DATES ca. 1630–1539 B.C.E.
    DYNASTY late Dynasty 13 to Dynasty 17
    PERIOD Second Intermediate Period
    DIMENSIONS 9/16 × 15/16 in. (1.5 × 2.4 cm) mount (m2 - wall mount): 1/2 × 1 × 1 1/2 in. (1.3 × 2.5 × 3.8 cm)  (show scale)
    ACCESSION NUMBER 08.480.199
    CREDIT LINE Charles Edwin Wilbour Fund
    PROVENANCE Archaeological provenance not yet documented; by 1893, acquired by Armand de Potter; November 1893, lent by Armand de Potter to the University Museum, Philadelphia, PA; 1905, inherited from Armand de Potter by Aimee S. de Potter (Amy S. Beckwith) of Asheville, NC; March 1908, purchased from Aimee S. de Potter by the Brooklyn Museum.
    Provenance FAQ
    CATALOGUE DESCRIPTION Steatite cowroid seal, glazed green and mounted on gold ring with swivel. Base of seal inscribed with conventionalized floral design. Ends of ring twisted back on shank. Condition: Good. Glaze worn.
    MUSEUM LOCATION This item is not on view
    CAPTION Cowrie-Shaped Amulet in Gold Ring, ca. 1630–1539 B.C.E. Steatite, glaze, gold, 9/16 × 15/16 in. (1.5 × 2.4 cm). Brooklyn Museum, Charles Edwin Wilbour Fund, 08.480.199. Creative Commons-BY (Photo: Brooklyn Museum, CUR.08.480.199_view1_erg2.jpg)
    IMAGE overall, CUR.08.480.199_view1_erg2.jpg. Brooklyn Museum photograph, 11/13/2008
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    RIGHTS STATEMENT Creative Commons-BY
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