Usekh Collar of Princess Neferuptah
The Usekh collar of Princess Neferuptah was made of gold, carnelian, feldspar, and fired glass paste (faience). Two smaller chains of beads are attached to the falcons, leading to a counterpoise, which also bears the image of a falcon, with further horizontal rows of beads hanging from it. At the bottom of the collar, teardrop shaped pendants can be seen, connected to a row of small golden beads.
The jewelry belonging to Princess Sathathoriunet was discovered at al-Lahun in 1914 while two other digs – in 1955 at Hawara (the Egyptian Antiquities Service) and in 1994 at Dahshur (Metropolitan Museum of Art) – brought to light the unentered tombs of Princess Neferuptah.
In their “Official Catalogue of the Egyptian Museum in Cairo” (#aff) Hourig Sourouzian and Mohamed Saleh describe it in a more “technical” way: “It is a network of tubular amazonite and carnelian beads, arranged vertically in six alternating rows connected by rows of small gold beads. Teardrop pendels embedded in amazonite and carnelian border the lower row of gold pearls.
Its wealth is affirmed in the refinement of the golden hawk heads at each end, one turning right, the other turning left. Each profile was made “pushed” then hijacked, before being then “as usual, welded on a flat gold plate that bent very slightly in the course of work”.
The characteristic features of the raptor are reproduced with realism: the flat panty announcing the bombed occiput, the protuberant eye – filled with a teardrop , the short and crooked beak, the suggestion of plumage.
On the top of the head of each hawk which, besides its aesthetically, serves to conceal the wire of the wire, is hung a chain. Made of small alternating beads, it allows you to tie the necklace to its counterweight to ensure balance in the back. It is lovely in the sense that it replicates “in miniature” the composition of the necklace.
“A much smaller, left-facing golden spire head, from which begin, by evading, six alternating rows of carnelian and amazonite cylindrical beads, the seventh being ‘drop’ shaped carnelian beads.” Christiane Ziegler specifies that: “This element of the ‘large’ necklaces was named mânkhet and it was brought closer to the term ânkh meaning ‘life’.”
The Usekh or Wesekh is a personal ornament, a type of broad collar or necklace. It was one of the most common types of ancient Egyptian jewelry.
It could be composed of faience beads, flower petals, or gold with semi-precious stone or glass inlays. Six rows of beads terminate with the head of a golden falcon at each end; these were used as fasteners.
Middle Kingdom, 12th Dynasty, reign of Amenemhat III. ca. 1860-1814 BC. Made of gold, carnelian, feldspar and glass paste. From the small pyramid of Princess Neferuptah at Hawara. Now in the Egyptian Museum, Cairo. JE 90199