Skip Navigation

Beaded Necklace

Egyptian, Classical, Ancient Near Eastern Art

On View: Pre-Dynastic, Egyptian Galleries, 3rd Floor
The three necklaces in this case were discovered in graves. 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 Shell, faience, clay
  • Possible Place Collected: Abu Zaidan, Egypt
  • DATES ca. 3300–3100 B.C.E.
    PERIOD Predynastic Period, Naqada III Period
    DIMENSIONS largest: 1 1/8 in. (2.9 cm) average: 1/4 in. (0.7 cm)  (show scale)
    ACCESSION NUMBER 09.889.302
    CREDIT LINE Charles Edwin Wilbour Fund
    CATALOGUE DESCRIPTION One hundred sixty two beads and shells: seventy rings of cut shell of different sizes; thirty one very small barrels of red faience; thirty very small cylinders, disks and rings of green faience; twenty one small truncated shells; six small fusiform shells, pierced as pendants, as chief pieces; four rather large shells of cowrie type with backs cut off. Condition: Good. Stringing modern.
    MUSEUM LOCATION This item is on view in Pre-Dynastic, Egyptian Galleries, 3rd Floor
    CAPTION Beaded Necklace, ca. 3300–3100 B.C.E. Shell, faience, clay, largest: 1 1/8 in. (2.9 cm). Brooklyn Museum, Charles Edwin Wilbour Fund, 09.889.302. Creative Commons-BY (Photo: Brooklyn Museum, CUR.09.889.302_erg3.jpg)
    IMAGE overall, CUR.09.889.302_erg3.jpg. Brooklyn Museum photograph, 9/21/2007
    "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.