Beads - 922.8.22_3



Medium:Carnelian, drilled and shaped
Geography: Egypt
Date: c. 1550-1069 BC
Period: 18th-20th Dynasty, New Kingdom
19 cm
Object number: 922.8.22
Credit Line: Gift of the Members of the Royal Ontario Museum
Not on view

This charming necklace of carnelian beads and amulets may be a pastiche. The provenance is unknown, so we do not know if the beads came from a single burial or many. Ancient jewelry is seldom found intact, as originally strung. Necklaces, bracelets, armlets and girdles might have been carefully set into jewelry boxes for the deceased to use in the next life, but the containers were usually opened and rifled in antiquity, scattering the beads.

 In this case, the carnelian leg-with-foot amulets may date to the Old Kingdom or First Intermediate Period, and the flattened central bead may be a Middle Kingdom  sweret bead, such as was worn at the neck of a mummy. The rest appear to be from the New Kingdom. Ancient beads could be handed down in families as heirlooms, and otherwise 'recycled' over the long centuries of Egyptian history. Red Carnelian, the colour of the sun and blood, was used for leg amulets, whose magical function was to maintain or restore motion to the legs.  Such amulets are often found as anklets. 

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