Green-glazed cowroid bead with spiral design
Measurement: 1.4 x .8 x .45 cm
Material/colour: steatite with blue-green glaze
Technique: stone carving; ceramic glaze; pierced longitudinally
Condition: glaze slightly discoloured in places, crackled, with chip from bottom edge.
Date: Middle Kingdom – Second Intermediate Period, possibly Third Intermediate Period. (Designs with spirals are typical of the earlier period, but had a recurrence in the Third Intermediate Period. Most of the later beads, however, are faience.)
Provenance: Golden Chariot; original collection of Gustav Jecquier, reportedly from Sakkara.
Identification and Interpretation: Well made bead with bright glaze, probably part of a necklace. Central design is spiral with two hieroglyphic signs on either side used for decorative purposes.
Workmanship: glaze is vivid and design is clearly marked.
Function and Meaning: from a necklace or other adornment
Comments: Cowrie-shell shaped beads, like the actual shells, assured fertility and safe childbearing. They were worn on belts, necklaces and bracelets.