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Fly Pendants and Cylindrical and Spherical Beads

Egyptian, Classical, Ancient Near Eastern Art

On View: Egyptian Orientation Gallery, 3rd Floor

Most ancient Egyptians owned at least one necklace.

The simplest examples were made of tiny beads of shell, bone, faience, metal, or glazed steatite. More complex versions had beads in the form of amulets, including uraeus-cobras, wedjat-eyes (the eye of the falcon-god Horus, symbolizing wholeness), scarabs (charms in the form of beetles), or images of gods such as Hathor. Individual beads as well as complete necklaces had significance. Beads reproducing fruits or flowers, such as the examples in this case, were believed to enhance fertility. Military officers presented fly necklaces to valiant soldiers to acknowledge their tenacity in battle.
MEDIUM Gold, lapis lazuli
  • Place Collected: Egypt
  • DATES ca. 1539–1292 B.C.E.
    DYNASTY Dynasty 18
    PERIOD New Kingdom
    DIMENSIONS Length: 9 11/16 in. (24.6 cm) Fly Pendant: 11/16 x 5/8 in. (1.8 x 1.6 cm)  (show scale)
    ACCESSION NUMBER 08.480.198
    CREDIT LINE Charles Edwin Wilbour Fund
    PROVENANCE Archaeological provenance not yet documented; by 1893, acquired by Armand de Potter; 1905, inherited from Armand de Potter by Aimee S. de Potter (Amy S. Beckwith) of Asheville, NC; March 1908, purchased from Aimee S. de Potter by the Brooklyn Museum.
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    CATALOGUE DESCRIPTION Necklace with pendants, gold; 1 fly, lapis lazuli; 6 flies, gold. Rare. Incomplete gold necklace. Units of two, plain, gold cylinders separated by three hollow spherical gold beads with notched bands at openings. Pendant at end of each unit, a gold fly made from gold sheet with incised details. Central pendant a large gold fly with upper surface inlaid with lapis lazuli.
    MUSEUM LOCATION This item is on view in Egyptian Orientation Gallery, 3rd Floor
    CAPTION Fly Pendants and Cylindrical and Spherical Beads, ca. 1539–1292 B.C.E. Gold, lapis lazuli, Length: 9 11/16 in. (24.6 cm). Brooklyn Museum, Charles Edwin Wilbour Fund, 08.480.198. Creative Commons-BY (Photo: Brooklyn Museum, CUR.08.480.198_48.66.39_erg456.jpg)
    IMAGE group, CUR.08.480.198_48.66.39_erg456.jpg. Brooklyn Museum photograph
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    RIGHTS STATEMENT Creative Commons-BY
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