String of beads and pendants - ROM2018_16320_28


String of beads and pendants

Medium:Carnelian and gold beads
Geography: Egypt
Date: c. 1550-1295 BC
Period: 18th Dynasty, New Kingdom
51.9 cm
Object number: 910.81.3
On view
Gallery Location:Galleries of Africa: Egypt

This lovely necklace of gold and carnelian would have shone when worn, reminding the wearer and those who saw her of the beauty and power of the sun.  The red and gold suggest the warmth and strength of the sun, and also of masculinity.  The amulets are in shape of poppy-seed capsules.  The great number of seeds in each capsule made them symbols of fertility.  It has been suggested that poppy seeds or latex were added to wine to enhance its intoxicating effects.  The large central pendant is in the shape of the hieroglyph for 'heart.'

To the ancient Egyptians, the heart was the seat of thought and feeling.  Even today, though modern medicine has shown that thinking goes on in the brain, we speak of 'listening' to our hearts, and speak of people as being soft -or hard-hearted. The heart is essential to this life and to the afterlife as well. 

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