Mummy bead net, Dyn. 25-31

Mummy bead net, Dyn. 25-31
Period:Egypt, 3rd Intermediate Period, 3rd Intermediate Period
Dating:740 BC–332 BC
Material:Faience (all types)
Physical:57cm. (22.3 in.) -

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Links to others from 3rd Intermediate Period

Bronze of Sakhmet seated, Dyn. 20-23
Horus-the-Child, 1070-774 BC
Mummy bead net, Dyn. 25-31
Mummy bead net, Dyn. 25-31
Mummy bead net, Dyn. 25-31
Mummy bead net with scarab, Dyn. 25-31
Necklace with beads and seven amulets
Scarab wing mummy net piece
Scarab with Goddess Hathor, 1070-656 BC
Sky Goddess Nut as a sow, 1085-760 BC

Links to others of type Bead net

Mummy bead net, Dyn. 25-31
Mummy bead net, Dyn. 25-31
Mummy bead net, Dyn. 25-31
Mummy bead net with scarab, Dyn. 25-31
Scarab wing mummy net piece
  This panel of blue faience mummy bead netting once rested atop the bandages of a mummy. The composition uses three kinds of beads: long blue tubes and small blue rings for the field, and long green tubes for the border. The beads were arranged to produce a diamond pattern with a solid frame. Initially perfectly regular, this pattern is now hard to appreciate, because the threading has dried, scrunching up the netting.

Mummy Bead Net
Andrews (1984:27) explains that “. . . For an equally unknown reason, from the Twenty Fifth Dynasty until the Roman Period, many mummies had an outer covering of a network of blue glazed composition beads or even a complete multicoloured beadwork shroud which almost looks knitted. Poorer clients had an imitation net painted on the outermost layer of their bandages. Some mummies wore an actual net made of knotted string.”

Budge (1989:222) saw the development of these mummy nets as a cheaper alternative to mummy boards and inner cartonnages. But this practice, started at a time of relative prosperity, yielded some very intricate beadwork which is unlikely to have effected any significant cost savings.

Lacovar and Trope (2004, Carlos Museum at Emory University, writes that this new custom “. . . appears in the Third Intermediate Period, although beadwork garments are known for burials of the Old and Middle Kingdoms. The bead-networks of the Late Period are thought to derive from the costumes worn by goddesses, although they are found on mummies of both sexes. When they initially appeared, they were a simple covering over the body with winged scarabs and images of the Four Sons of Horus worked in. By the Late Period they had incorporated occasional bands of text and a face mask, all executed in painstaking patterns of tiny coloured faience beads.”

Bibliography (on Mummy Bead Net)

Andrews, Carol
1984 Egyptian Mummies. Harvard University Press, Cambridge, MA.

Budge, E. A. Wallis, Sir
1989 The Mummy: a Handbook of Egyptian Funerary Archaeology (Republication of the 1925 second edition.). 2nd edition. Dover Publications, New York, NY. (27)

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