Beads - 910.48.79_3



Medium:Glass beads and one carnelian
Geography: Egypt
Date: c. 332 BC-395 AD
Period: Ptolemaic-Roman Period
Object number: 910.48.79
Not on view

This necklace was strung in modern times to show some of the variety and quality of glass beads made in Egypt in Late Antiquity. Though most were made in Ptolemaic or Roman times, the blue and white beads towards the ends are Islamic.  

The most interesting, however, is the rather flat and worn carnelian bead in the centre.  It may well be a sweret bead, such as was placed at the neck of mummies during the Middle Kingdom.  These carnelian beads, sometimes with the name of the deceased inscribed, can be seen on images of Middle kingdom coffins, and have been found in situ. The red colour of carnelian reminded the Egyptians of blood, energy, dynamism and power.  Presumably these qualities could be transferred to deceased person whose mummy was adorned with it.


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