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Beaded Necklace

Egyptian, Classical, Ancient Near Eastern Art

On View: Egypt Reborn: Art for Eternity, Pre-Dynastic, Egyptian Galleries, 3rd Floor

This necklace was discovered in a grave. Ancient Egyptians apparently wore jewelry not only as adornments but also as protective symbols. Beads of different materials may have been chosen for the symbolic qualities of their colors. The amulet represents the head of a powerful bull—or possibly a nurturing cow—and was probably thought to transfer that animal's characteristics to its wearer.

MEDIUM Steatite, carnelian, diorite, porphyry, hematite, banded alabaster, agate, soapstone
  • Place Excavated: Adaima, Egypt
  • DATES ca. 3500-3300 B.C.E.
    PERIOD Predynastic Period-middle Naqada II Period
    DIMENSIONS 2 1/2 x 2 1/4 in. (6.4 x 5.7 cm)  (show scale)
    ACCESSION NUMBER 09.889.301a
    CREDIT LINE Charles Edwin Wilbour Fund
    RIGHTS STATEMENT Creative Commons-BY
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    CAPTION Beaded Necklace, ca. 3500-3300 B.C.E. Steatite, carnelian, diorite, porphyry, hematite, banded alabaster, agate, soapstone , 2 1/2 x 2 1/4 in. (6.4 x 5.7 cm). Brooklyn Museum, Charles Edwin Wilbour Fund, 09.889.301a. Creative Commons-BY
    IMAGE overall, CUR.09.889.301a_erg3.jpg. Brooklyn Museum photograph, 12/11/2007
    "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.
    CATALOGUE DESCRIPTION Eighteen stone beads of different materials and shapes. Eight very narrow elongated barrels of hematite; one very small disk, light brown carnelian; one small ring of red carnelian; one irregular plump drop of light agate, pierced as a pedant; 2 drops of diorite, pierced as pendants; 2 big pendant drops of white calcite, striped with pink lines, longitudinal in one, which is corroded, transversal in the other; one big broad flattened pendant drop of white and black granite (?); one very big disk of black steatite; one papyrus scepter amulet, pierced in stem as pendant, of mottled gray soapstone. Condition: Stringing modern.
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