Art/ Collection/ Art Object

Fragments of a Bead

Object Name:
Fragments of a bead
8th–13th century
Excavated in Iran, Nishapur
Jet; cut, drilled, and inlaid
Credit Line:
Rogers Fund, 1948
Accession Number:
Not on view
The dot-in-circle motif recalls designs presumed to be of magical significance, most likely an abstract eye to ward off the evil-eye, which serves an apotropaic function. Easily reproduced with a tool and visible in many cultures and times, this symbol may have lost its meaning, and become simply a decorative pattern, or may have one that we have not yet discovered.
1939, excavated in Nishapur, Iran by the Metropolitan Museum of Art's expedition; 1948, acquired by the Museum in the division of finds

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