An Egyptian Carnelian Bead, Middle Kingdom, Dynasty 11- 12, ca. 2040 - 1786 BCE
Object No: BE128
In ancient Egypt, ornaments for the neck are a direct development of charms strung upon a cord. At one extreme they become pectorals: at the other, collars. The pebble, polished, perforated and threaded on a string of leather or linen is one of the more common amulets found beginning in predynastic times.
This primitive jewel survived in the barrel-shaped bead, becoming part of the essential personal adornments for funerary rituals during the Middle Kingdom. Hung around the neck or on the breast of the deceased, such beads were initially worn singularly on a cord tied closely to the throat or flanked either end by a round or cylindrical bead of green faience or feldspar. This carnelian example has been strung on a modern 20" silver loop chain.
Dimensions: Length: 7/8 inch (2.2 cm), set as a pendant on a 20-inch silver chain
Condition: expected minor signs of wear, intact and in very good condition overall.
Provenance: Miss Isobel H. Lenman private collection, certified by the Smithsonian Institution, Washington, D.C. and loaned to the museum by Joseph M. Hausler, Washington, D.C., acquired by Dr. and Mrs Stohlman in 1965 and thereafter by descent.
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