The Middle Kingdom in Egypt is generally regarded as the zenith of Egyptian jewelry making. The jewelers of the royal court produced items of exquisite simplicity and elegant design from rare and exotic materials. Many motifs that had heretofore been reserved exclusively for the king’s regalia were adopted by the upper classes. An iconic example is this pendant of the falcon god, Horus.
Horus was the symbol of the king and his protector. On this pendant he is shown wearing the Double Pschent Crown of Upper and Lower Egypt, the symbol of kingship. The falcon’s wings are folded, and he perches on a schematic version of the traditional block border motif. The pendant was formed of two sheets of electrum (a combination of gold and silver, thought to have magical properties by the ancient Egyptians), and the face and details of the wings and talons of the raptor were chased onto the top sheet, and a plain back was soldered to it with silver solder. Examples of this type of pendant are found in the world’s greatest Egyptian collections in Cairo, London, and New York.
Middle Kingdom, 12th Dynasty, ca. 1939-1760 BC. Now in the Michael C. Carlos Museum. 2007.005.002