Necklace

Egyptian
Early Dynastic Period, Dynasty 1–2
2960–2649 B.C.


Findspot: Egypt, Zawyet el-Aryan, Grave Z 118

Dimensions

Length: 24.8 cm (9 3/4 in.)

Accession Number

11.2555

Medium or Technique

Carnelian, limestone, quartz, faience

On View

Egypt: Pre-Dynastic and Dynastic (Gallery 105A)

Collections

Jewelry, The Ancient World

Classifications

Necklaces and neck bands

The child’s necklace is made up primarily of truncated ball and barrel beads of carnelian, and cylindrical beads of carnelian and limestone, one amethyst barrel, fifteen faience disc beads; and one small faience X-shaped bead and small broken pendant (?), surrounding a finely carved pendant in the shape of a lioness or panther head. The exact function of such an amulet is uncertain. Perhaps the fierce creature was intended to ward off potential harm. Alternatively, it may have been hoped that the animal’s strength and speed would be transferred to the wearer. Perhaps it appealed to its owner simply for its beauty.
This beautifully colored necklace attests to the relatively wide availability of fine raw materials in Early Dynastic Egypt, for it belonged not to a members of the ruling class, but rather to an individual of moderate social standing. It comes from the Early Dynastic cemetery at the site of Zawyet el-Aryan near the capital city of Memphis. This necklace belonged to a child who was buried in a well-equipped grave. Along with the necklace found on the child’s body, the burial included a set of nine ivory bracelets, a slate palette, a stone dish and cups, a spherical pot, and a well-preserved wooden coffin.

Provenance

From Zawyet el-Aryan, Grave Z 118. 1910-11: excavated by the Harvard University–Boston Museum of Fine Arts Expedition; assigned to the MFA in the division of finds by the government of Egypt.

(Accession Date: October 19, 1911)

Credit Line

Harvard University—Boston Museum of Fine Arts Expedition