Beads

M11516

On display

A string of gold and carnelian ball beads with eighteen pendants of solid-cast gold 'hes' vase hieroglyphs, symbolic of divine praise/favour; with a small double string in the centre with carnelian ball beads; four gold discs; eight pendants of 'nefer' hieroglyphs, representing beauty; a carnelian 'hes' vase bead; and a single carnelian poppy flower bud pendant at the bottom. Such arrangements of beads and amulets were common in the New Kingdom (1550-1069 BC). However, as beautiful as the necklace is, this is very unlikely to be an accurate arrangement as it comes from a Victorian collection given to the museum in 1867. Without knowing how it was found the necklace may in reality not represent the discovery of a complete necklace but a restringing of isolated beads not necessarily from the same find, or indeed site. Joseph Mayer’s catalogue for the object reads: “197. Necklace, of gold and carnelian, containing sixty-three beads of carnelian, twenty-two long beads of gold, and twenty-six drops of gold.” (1852 p. 17).