Ancient Egyptian Beaded collar with amulets

The central motif of this small, elegant beaded collar, is a large, hollow gold ball bead flanked by a pair of amulets in the form of wadjet eyes, one of the most popular and powerful amulets for warding off potential threats.

Centrally placed on each side of the main motif is an openwork amulet representing Heh (the one on the left is very small), the personification of “infinity,” portrayed as a kneeling man holding the hieroglyphic symbol for “year” in each of his hands.

Ancient Egyptian Beaded collar with amulets
Ancient Egyptian Beaded collar with amulets. Museum of Fine Arts, Boston. 13.3609

These amulets, it was hoped, would help to ensure an infinite life in the hereafter. On the left side, the Heh amulet stands between two additional wadjet eyes. On the right side are a sphinx and a falcon, both emblems of the cosmic power associated with the sun god and the king.

Related: Beaded Bracelet of Queen Ahhotep

The rest of the collar consists of four rows of delicately crafted, blue-glazed disk beads linked by gold spacer beads.

The craftsmen of the Middle Kingdom produced some of ancient Egypt’s finest jewelry. Both men and women wore broad collars, as they had in the Old Kingdom, and now amulets became an important element of their design.

Middle Kingdom, 11th-13th Dynasty, ca. 2055-1650 BC. Glazed steatite, gold and electrum. Length: 18.5 cm (7 5/16 in.). Now in the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston. 13.3609