Jewellery was highly important throughout all of Ancient Egyptian history, worn across social classes, and by both women and men. Bright colours and patterns were exceedingly popular, as were bold, large pieces. Beaded necklaces were especially common. These necklaces were often made from beads of all different colours, sizes, and materials, arranged artfully to create an eye-catching piece. The annexation of Egypt into the Roman Empire in Late Antiquity in no way dampened the Egyptians enthusiasm for self-adornment. The Romano-Egyptian period saw great changes in Egyptian art and culture, with more and more Egyptians taking inspiration from the empire’s capital. Glass beads were incredibly popular in Rome, made with a variety of coloured glasses, and even using different styles to trick the eye into mistaking the glass for gemstones. Glassmakers in Rome were said to be absolute masters of their craft, and their work and styles spread throughout the Empire. Egyptians took inspiration from Rome, and infused the capital’s styles with their bold colours and bright patterns, creating mesmerising pieces. The combination of geometric patterns, human figures, and bold colours seen in this work is a beautiful example of the Egyptians’ eye-catching style and audacious fashions.
Romano-Egyptian Glass Bead with Faces
A Romano-Egyptian round fused glass bead, pierced longitudinally for suspension. The red body of the bead is adorned with a central horizontal band of geometric patterns. Darker red squares featuring three small stylised faces, facing forward, framed by dark hair which alternate with squares divided into four triangles of black, red yellow, and blue. The shapes are thinly outlined in white glass.
Provenance: Ex E.M. London collection, 1970-2000s by descent
Condition: Good condition, slight chipping to the bead including the light blue section and around the perforation. Repair to the body