An Egyptian Floral Broad collar Necklace, Amarna Period, ca. 1352-1336 BCE
By the New Kingdom, broad collar necklaces were the most frequently worn pieces of jewelry among the royalty and elite in ancient Egypt. This faience broad collar comprising of fine floral elements is a durable version of the elaborate perishable floral collars worn by banquet guests. Individually made in molds, the beads in this example displays a row of white lotus petals with yellow and blue tips; a row of red dates with yellow tips, and a row of yellow mandrake fruits. These rows are joined by strands of small ring beads. The rows end in triangular faience terminals incised with blue lotus blossoms.
It is highly possible the jewelry elements depicting fruit, and flowers had an amuletic significance since all growing plants were inherently symbolic of new life and some flowers actually open each morning, reconfirming the idea of resurrection.
Literature: For further discussion, see C. Andrews, Ancient Egyptian Jewellery, London, 1990, pp. 122-3, fig. 105 (a broad collar with similar mandrake fruit found at el-Amarna.) There is also a collar in the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, with similar date and lotus petal beads: acc. no. 40.2.5.
Akhenaten and Nefertiti are frequently shown wearing board collars of this type. For example, the Berlin bust of Nefertiti shows the queen wearing a broad collar with mandrake fruit: cf. D. Wildung (et. al.), Egyptian Museum and Papyrus Collection, Berlin, Berlin, 2010, p. 106-7, fig. 56. The small painted relief also in Berlin shows the king and queen wearing elaborate floral polychrome collars of this type: op.cit., pp. 102-3, figs. 52-3.
Condition: One terminal professionally copied from the original terminal for aesthetic purposes, some ring beads reattached to the main bead elements. Professionally restrung and in excellent condition overall. A superb piece!
Provenance: Goddard and Josephine Cook DuBois, New York acquired in Egypt between 1900 and 1907, exhibited Metropolitan Museum 1920-1940, Boston Fine Art 1945-1960, Museum of Man CA 1968 #M111 (part) and Foxwell private collection (U.K), acquired between 1930 and 1950.