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Menat necklace from Malqata

Period:
New Kingdom
Dynasty:
Dynasty 18
Reign:
reign of Amenhotep III
Date:
ca. 1390–1353 B.C.
Geography:
From Egypt, Upper Egypt; Thebes, Malqata, Birket Habu Mound B 1, Private House B, MMA 1911–1912
Medium:
Faience, bronze or copper alloy, glass, agate, carnelian, lapis lazuli, turquoise
Dimensions:
l. of counterpoise 14.7 cm (5 13/16 in)
Credit Line:
Rogers Fund, 1911
Accession Number:
11.215.450
  • Description

    A menat necklace consists of a heavy, keyhole-shaped counterpoise (menat) and many strands of beads. Although the necklace is sometimes shown being worn (26.2.252pp), it was more often carried by females participating in religious ceremonies. It functioned as a percussion instrument that was shaken to create a soothing noise that was thought to appease a god or goddess. In the New Kingdom the menat necklace and the systrum (68.44) were attributes of women who held the title "Singer of Amun-Re" (see 15.2.1).
    In the early 20th century, the Museum conducted excavations at Malqata, a site at the southern end of the Theban necropolis where Amenhotep III had built a palace city for the celebration of his jubilee festivals. This miraculously preserved menat necklace and two single-strand necklaces of beads and amulets (11.215.216 and 11.215.217) were found in the corner of a private house.

  • Provenance

    Museum excavations, 1910–11. Acquired by the Museum in the Division of Finds, 1911.

  • See also
    What
    Where
    When
    In the Museum
    Heilbrunn Timeline of Art History
    MetPublications
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