An Egyptian Agate Poppy Bead Pendant,
New Kingdom, Amarna Period, ca. 1336-1327 BCE
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Dimensions: Pendant length: 1.6 cm (0.6 inches) and set on an adjustable 18" chain of 18K white gold.
A large group of New Kingdom bead types are based on flowers or their buds. These elements are found in single strands of beads as well as broad collars, although flowers as components of broad collars seem to be most common after Hatshepsut's time. Two of the most popular floral beads depict the buds of poppies and of cornflowers, such as this pretty pendant example. Hand-carved from carnelian, a stone believed to hold magical powers, these flowers were staples of the Egyptian garden and were used to fashion fresh bouquets for shrines and floral broad collars.
The Egyptians believed carnelian was endowed with magical powers; it caused the blood to circulate smoothly throughout the body, made the skin healthy and youthful, and was capable of warding off evil. Since wearing carnelian also makes one feel peaceful and slow to anger, it was theorized the color orange is the harmonious balance of passionate, creative red and bright, cheerful yellow, making it particularly soothing to wear.
Condition: Small loss to the base of the pendant but otherwise intact and in very good condition overall, with minor signs of ancient wear that does not detract.
Provenance: Ex. Sotheby Parke Bernet, March 20, 1968, lot #52 (part)