Pectoral

Composed of baseplates made of hammered silver sheet, with soldered and gilded silver cloisons (partitions) inlaid with carnelian and glass, this sumptuous pectoral was fit for a king. It takes the form of a vulture with outstretched wings representing the tutelary goddess of Upper Egypt, Nekhbet, grasping coils of rope, a symbol of eternity. To the left of the vulture's body is a rearing cobra. She is Wadjyt, the goddess of Lower Egypt. Together, they form a pair referred to as the "two ladies," guardian deities of the king.

The pectoral was made as a piece of funerary equipment rather than as jewelry to be worn in life. The three separate pieces representing the wings and body of the bird were not joined to one another; rather, the edges of the base plates were pierced with holes for fastening the ornament to something else, most likely the chest of the mummy or an anthropoid coffin. The wings also curve laterally, further supporting this assumption.

Provenance

Probably from Thebes. 1858: acquired at a village near Thebes, Egypt by George Alfred Stone, Roxbury, MA; 1873: sold by Mr. Stone's widow to John W. Garrett; given by Mr. Garret to Lafayette College, Easton, PA; c. 1979: stolen from Lafayette College library; by 1980:Pennsylvania private collection; consigned to Sotheby Parke Bernet for sale, December, 1980 (not sold); 1981: purchased by the MFA from Mr. Granger through Sotheby Parke Bernet, June 10, 1981; 1992: title transferred from Lafayette College to MFA as through agreement reached in April 1992.

Ex Collection Lafayette College 1890-1981.

(Accession Date: June 10, 1981)

Credit Line

Egyptian Special Purchase Fund, William Francis Warden Fund, Florence E. and Horace L. Mayer Fund

Pectoral

  • Egyptian, Second Intermediate Period, Dynasty 13–17, 1783–1550 B.C.
Dimensions
Height x width x depth: 11.2 x 36.5 x 0.5 cm (4 7/16 x 14 3/8 x 3/16 in.)
Medium or Technique
Gold and silver with inlays of carnelian and glass
Classification
Jewelry / Adornment
Accession Number
1981.159
On view
Rita J. and Stanley H. Kaplan Family Foundation Gallery (Jewelry) - 104

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