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:
Not on view
A menat necklace consists of a heavy, keyhole-shaped counterpoise (menat) and many strands of beads. Although the necklace is sometimes shown being worn (fig. 2 above), 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 sistrum (68.44) were attributes of women who held the title "Singer of Amun-Re" such as Renenutet, who is depicted holding her menat on her lap in a statue

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 festival city for the celebration of his three jubilees (or heb seds). This miraculously preserved menat necklace and two single-strand necklaces of beads and amulets were found in the corner of a room in a private house near the King's Palace. According to the excavators, the three necklaces had been placed in a linen bag, traces of which were still visible.

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: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, p. 31, fig. 7.

Hayes, William C. 1959. Scepter of Egypt II: A Background for the Study of the Egyptian Antiquities in the Metropolitan Museum of Art: The Hyksos Period and the New Kingdom (1675-1080 B.C.). Cambridge, Mass.: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 253, fig. 153.

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