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Egyptian Faiance Beads

Egyptian Faiance Beads

Regular price €195,00
Regular price Sale price €195,00
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The New Kingdom of Egypt, c. 1550-1069 BC, Egypt.

Beautiful strand of archaic faiance beads. In ancient Egypt the plain necklaces were made of small beads of shell, bone, faiance, metal, or glazed steatite. More elaborate examples had beads in form of amulets, including uraeus-cobras, wedjat-eyes (the eye of the falcon-god Horus), scarabs (charms in the form of beetles), or images of gods such as Hathor. Egyptian faiance (called tjehenet) was the first man-made non-clay ceramic, with examples of this material dating back to the Pre-Dynastic period. Faiance is made of quartz or sand (silica) mixed with alkaline salts, lime, and metallic colorants. Egyptian faiance comes in a variety of different colours, possibly intended to imitate precious stones, but the most common colour is a blue or blueish green that is visually very similar to turquoise. Two common colorants are copper (turquoise) and cobalt (blue). For the ancient Egyptians, blue was a magical colour. It was associated with the sky and the river Nile, and thus came to represent the universe, rejuvenation and rebirth.

These lovely ancient faiance beads were originally part of colorful necklaces worn by Egyptian commoners and nobility alike. Colour varies from light turquoise and white to pale blue. Good condition. Age-related wear. Minor cracks and abrasion. Length c. 41,0cm with approx. 220 unique beads. Beads collected in the early 20th century. Cotton string is modern. Individual bead size varies from 0,2 to 0,4cm. 

Provenance: Dutch private collection

References and further reading:

Egyptian Faiance: Technology and Production, Carolyn Riccardelli, Department of Objects Conservation, December 2017, The Metropolitan Museum of Art.

Ancient Technology: Faiance Beads in the Garstang Museum, Garstang Museum of Archaeology.

Gifts of the Nile: Ancient Egyptian Faiance, Friedman, Florence Dunn, Thames and Hudson, London, 1998.

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