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Belts & aprons


A different category of Egyptian beadwork are belts and aprons. On this page several examples of belts are shown. There are belts from the Old Kingdom (C27-C23 BC), the Middle Kingdom (C22-C17 BC) the other from the New Kingdom (C16-C11 BC) of Egypt. The belts are usually made of small beads, threaded together into a tight fabric. The items from older periods that have survived are often beaded on metal wire. The later objects have been strung on thread. The pattern of the objects is almost always lozenge shaped, often with muli colored interiors. Often the belts or aprons are decorated with fringes at the bottom, either showing small bead items or glass ornaments, or longer beaded tassels.
Objects on this page are all in the collection of the museum in Cairo. Some of the objects are definitely restrung; others are still on the original wire. In the early days of archaeology, beadwork uncovered at archaeological excavations often received more attention than it will receive today. This was often due to the presence of the wife or female relative of the archaeologist at the site. More than once reconstructing complex objects made of beadwork was her way of pastime and most objects now displayed in museums worldwide are thus restrung. Unfortunately before restringing the beadwork no attempt was made to document the find in situ. This has left us with many questions on the original technique of many objects. Sometimes errors were made as well, and of many beadwork artefacts over the world the pattern of beadwork is now reconsidered.
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