Tuesday, July 18, 2017

(105) Petrie Museum Unofficial Page - C is for Carnelian

C is for Carnelian
Carnelian was used to make the wonderful foot amulets in the anklets UC18030 and UC20614. Carnelian is a translucent semi-precious stone that is found in the Eastern Desert. It comes in shades of light orange to dark orange-red and polishes to a bright, glassy finish. Perforated amulets of feet and hands were often made of carnelian during the Old Kingdom and First Intermediate periods. It is thought that the colour of the stone, perhaps reminiscent of blood, endowed the amulets with the properties of strength and vitality connected with hopes for ongoing mobility and flexibility in both this life and the next. When they were found on mummified bodies most of the foot amulets were connected with the ankle, often threaded with shells to form anklets, although others were also associated with the neck, and were often found with women and children. UC18030 is an anklet threaded with conus shells. It is from Qau, excavated by Guy Brunton (Qau and Badari II, 1928 - plates LXII, LXXIII) and dates to the Seventh Dynasty, consisting of an anklet of two carnelian amulets and 12 small conus shells, from an intact burial of a woman. Another lovely example is UC20614, a pair of carnelian foot amulets with one black faïence and four shell beads, also from Seventh Dynasty Qau.

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