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HOME : Egyptian Antiquities : Egyptian Beaded Necklaces : New Kingdom Gold and Scaraboid Faience Bead Necklace Featuring an Eye of Horus Bead Centerpeice
New Kingdom Gold and Scaraboid Faience Bead Necklace Featuring an Eye of Horus Bead Centerpeice - FJ.7286
Origin: Egypt
Circa: 1600 BC to 1100 BC

Collection: Egyptian
Medium: Faience and Gold

Location: United States
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These genuine Ancient Egyptian faience and gold beads dating from the New Kingdom have been strung on a modern necklace.

Faience, the use of which dates back to pre- dynastic times, is a glasslike non-clay substance made of materials common to Egypt: ground quartz, crushed quartz pebbles, flint, a soluble salt-like baking soda and lime. Colour varied the most common colour is blue, which was achieved through the application of ground copper. Called tjehnet by the ancient Egyptians (meaning that which is brilliant or scintillating) faience was thought to be endowed with the immortal light of the sun, moon and stars, and was believed to be symbolic of rebirth. The associations of faience were so strong that it is often associated with burial contexts, guaranteeing some form of immortality for the deceased. Various objects, from shabtis to tiny models of household articles, were commonly made from faience and placed in the tomb.

Most ancient Egyptian beads were made of faience, a glass-composite glaze which was introduced as early as the Pre-Dynastic period. According to Egyptologists, most beads were made on an axis, probably of thread, which would burn up during firing, leaving a hole. Disc, ring and tubular beads were made by coating the axis with the unfired body-paste, rolling the cylinder to an even diameter on a flat surface, and then scoring it with a knife into sections of the desired length. Other shapes, such as ball beads, were rolled between the hands and perforated while still wet with a stiff point such as a wire needle. The beads were then dried, coating with glaze (if the glaze had not already been mixed with the paste), and fired. The firing process often gave the beads a beautiful translucent quality. The majority of faience beads are blue or green in color, but black, red yellow and white ones were also produced, especially in the New Egyptian Kingdom.

The Ancient Egyptians believed the wedjat eye was the most powerful protection against evil. Ever-vigilant against bad luck and misfortune, the symbolic eye of the god Horus was worn by king and peasant alike. Though the eye was sometimes fashioned in gold and precious stones, it was thought to be at its most powerful when colored blue. The tradition of blue amulets guarding against harm is a very ancient one. Throughout the Mediterranean world today, one sees beads and talismans of bright blue, which are meant to avert the evil eye of bad luck. In Egypt, peasants dip the palm of their hands in blue paint and press their palms against the sides of their houses. When the Egyptian Empire was at its glorious height, this faience eye of the god Horus was worn by some long-forgotten person to bring good fortune and luck. Much has changed in the world since then, but the power of this talisman remains strong and benevolent as always. Whoever wears it today in its golden frame will surely benefit from its ancient magic as well. - (FJ.7286)


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