An Egyptian Cowrie Shell Fertility Pendant, Middle Kingdom, ca. 2017-1750 BCE
An Egyptian Cowrie Shell Fertility Pendant, Middle Kingdom, ca. 2017-1750 BCE
An Egyptian Cowrie Shell Fertility Pendant, Middle Kingdom, ca. 2017-1750 BCE

An Egyptian Cowrie Shell Fertility Pendant, Middle Kingdom, ca. 2017-1750 BCE

EJ2405

Regular price¥199,800
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Cowrie shells, originating usually from the Red Sea, were widely valued as amulets in the ancient world. Their resemblance to the female genitalia and, alternatively, to a squinting eye is thought to underlie a magical association with fertility and with protection from the evil eye, respectively. Generally, they are known from female burials in Egypt, but they can also accompany males. Even today, in eastern Africa and Egypt, women wear aprons sewn with cowrie shells to protect the pelvic organs from the aborting or the sterilizing effect of a malevolent gaze. The choice of material contributed to the symbolic power of the objects by the process of magical transference.

The back of this lovely example has been ground away so that the shell can lie flat when strung. It has been recently mounted as a pendant necklace, with a 14-karat white gold tapered bail set with a round .02-ct. diamond (I1 clarity/G, H color) and an 18-inch white gold 1.5mm wheat chain of 14K gold. 

Medium: Cowrie shell, white gold, diamond

Dimensions: Shell length: 7/8 inch (2.2 cm). Set as a pendant on a 14K gold white chain.

Condition: The shell is in excellent condition. It has been restrung as a pendant on an 18-inch 14K white gold chain.

Provenance: Accessioned by the Edinburgh Museum of Art and Industries in 1921 and sold by Tetragon, London, 1997, to Egyptologist Geoffrey Metz, Sweden, who worked at the Gustavianum Museum, Uppsala University, Sweden, during his graduate years. 

Sands of Time provides a lifetime, unconditional guarantee of authenticity and provenance. Every object you purchase from us is accompanied by a Certificate of Authenticity, stating culture, provenance, and age.

Furthermore, we conduct due diligence to ensure the item, to the best of our knowledge, has not been illegally obtained from an excavation, architectural monument, public institution, or private property. Wherever possible, reference is made to existing collections or publications.Wherever possible, reference is made to existing collections or publications.

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