Broad collar necklace (wesekh collar) - ROM2016_15146_49


Broad collar necklace (wesekh collar)

Medium:Glazed composition (faience)
Geography: Excavated at Amarna, Egypt
Date: c. 1352-1336 BC
Period: Reign of Akhenaten, 18th Dynasty, Amarna Period, New Kingdom
19.3 x 24.1 cm
Object number: 910.48.15
On view
Gallery Location:Galleries of Africa: Egypt

This colourful broad collar is made of Egyptian glazed composition, also known as Egyptian faience, the earliest form of "paste" jewellery. Faience was easy to make and relatively cheap so that everyone could probably afford some small item of body adornment. An elaborate broad collar such as this, however, would have been expensive, due to the number and colours of the beads, and the skilled labour put into its manufacture.

The beds in this collar come from the site of Amarna, Akhenaten's royal city, dating to about 1340 BC. It has been re-strung based on an example displayed in the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York. The beads are in the form of fruit, grapes, buds and leaves, typical for the era. The finials are in the form of lotus flowers, one of which is a reproduction. Both men and women wore such collars. 

At banquets and festivals, people wore collars made of flowers, fragrant leaves, small fruits and colourful beads stiched onto a papyrus backing.  This example, heavier and not fragrant, may have been made as funerary jewellery.

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