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Egyptian, Classical, Ancient Near Eastern Art

Necklaces that include shells are known from earliest times. They may have been purely decorative, or perhaps they had some unknown meaning for the Egyptians. But royal women had nerita-shell-shaped amulets made from gold.
MEDIUM Faience, shell (marine Cypraea moneta and Xeropicta vestalis)
  • Place Excavated: Abydos, Egypt
  • DATES ca. 2008–1630 B.C.E.
    PERIOD Middle Kingdom
    DIMENSIONS 1/2 x 1/4 x 19 1/8 in. (1.3 x 0.6 x 48.6 cm)  (show scale)
    CREDIT LINE Gift of the Egypt Exploration Society
    CATALOGUE DESCRIPTION Single strand necklace of blue faience beads, the small ones circular, the larger tubular. The colors vary from gray to vivid blue, one bead being marked with black manganese. The shells of a small sea animal, presumably a species of snail are scattered at the ends of the necklace with one large shell in the center. The small shells that are cut into slices have been identified as a marine cowry, Cypraea moneta (widely used as currency for centuries) and the large central shell has been identified as coming from a land snail, Xeropicta vestalis. Condition: A few beads are broken.
    MUSEUM LOCATION This item is not on view
    CAPTION Necklace, ca. 2008–1630 B.C.E. Faience, shell (marine Cypraea moneta and Xeropicta vestalis), 1/2 x 1/4 x 19 1/8 in. (1.3 x 0.6 x 48.6 cm). Brooklyn Museum, Gift of the Egypt Exploration Society, 26.167. Creative Commons-BY (Photo: Brooklyn Museum, 26.167_PS2.jpg)
    IMAGE overall, 26.167_PS2.jpg. Brooklyn Museum photograph, 2006
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    RIGHTS STATEMENT Creative Commons-BY
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