Art/ Collection/ Collection/ Art Object

Bead shaped like a Coleoptera beetle

Period:
Predynastic, Naqada III–Early Dynastic Period
Date:
ca. 3300–2650 B.C.
Geography:
From Egypt
Medium:
Bone (mineralized)
Dimensions:
L. 4.1 x Diam. 1.6 cm (1 5/8 x 5/8 in.)
Credit Line:
Gift of Bashford Dean, 1916
Accession Number:
16.7.59b
On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 101
A bead in the form of a click beetle (Coleoptera).
Beads carved in the form of a Coleoptera or click beetle (Agrypnus notodonta) are highly unusual and their subject and large size suggests they were not meant to be wearable jewelry. Faience beads of comparable size recovered from early temple deposits support the idea that these beads may have been offerings or ritual equipment from an early shrine. Such donations were well known from Pharonic times. The click beetle was an insect sacred to Neith, an early and powerful goddess, whose realm was hunting and war.

Diana Craig Patch, 2011
Donated to the Museum by Bashford Dean, 1916.

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