Art/ Collection/ Art Object

Menat necklace from Malqata

New Kingdom
Dynasty 18
reign of Amenhotep III
ca. 1390–1353 B.C.
From Egypt, Upper Egypt, Thebes, Malqata, Birket Habu Mound B 1, Private House B, MMA excavations, 1911–12
Faience, bronze or copper alloy, glass, agate, carnelian, lapis lazuli, turquoise
L. of counterpoise 14.7 cm (5 13/16 in)
Credit Line:
Rogers Fund, 1911
Accession Number:
On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 119
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 sistrum (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.

Link to a blog about the Museum's excavations at Malqata
The Met's Joint Mission to Malqata
Museum excavations, 1910–11. Acquired by the Museum in the Division of Finds, 1911.

Winlock, Herbert E. 1921. Bas-reliefs from the temple of Rameses I at Abydos, The Metropolitan Museum of Art Papers, 1. New York: Metropolitan Museum of Art, p. 31, fig. 7.

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