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Collections / Itineraries / Egyptian Collection: Middle Kingdom

Necklace with cowries

The necklace is composed of carnelian and amethyst beads alternated with cowry shells in repoussé silver, which represent its distinctive element. Thanks to comparisons with similar specimens found in the tombs of el-Lisht, Dahshur and West Thebes, this jewel can unquestionably be dated to the 12th dynasty (1938–1759 BC).

More info

Most scholars consider it a necklace, but this it could also have been used as a belt draped around the hips, not only to highlight the harmonious nudity of a young female body, but also to propitiate fertility, evoked by the cowries, its traditional symbol.

Provenance: Unknown. Palagi (Nizzoli) Collection
Datation: Middle Kingdom: 12th dynasty (1938 - 1759 a.C.)
Material: amethyst, carnelian and silver
Dimensions: cm 66
Inventory #: KS 3077

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Exhibition rooms | Egyptian collection