Usekh collar

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Bust of Nefertiti wearing an Usekh

The Usekh or Wesekh is a personal ornament, a type of collar or necklace, familiar to many because of its presence in images of the ancient Egyptian elite. Deities, women, and men were depicted wearing this jewellery. One example can be seen on the famous gold mask of Tutankhamun. The ancient word wsẖ can mean "breadth" or "width," and so this collar is often referred to as the broad collar.

The broad collar was draped around and supported by the neck and shoulders. It is typically adorned with closely placed rows of colored stone beads, or it is made entirely of metal. The collars were connected with clasps of gold.[1]

Broad Collar, ca. 1336-1327 B.C.E. Brooklyn Museum

A scene in the 4th Dynasty tomb of Wepemnofret at Giza connects the usekh / wesekh collar with dwarfs and the deity Ptah. Bernd Scheel has argued that Ptah, who is sometimes depicted wearing the broad collar, protects the deceased through the collar and that dwarfs had access to that protective magic because of their work making these types of collars.[2] In the 5th Dynasty tomb chapel of Akhethotep (originally located at Saqqara, now in the Louvre), one scene distinguishes between two types of collars: the broad collar and the šnw or "encircling" collar.[3]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Usekh Collar". Retrieved 2009-03-28. 
  2. ^ Scheel, Bernd (1999). "Ptah und die Zwerge". In Altenmüller, Hartwig; Germer, Renate. Miscellanea Aegyptologica: Wolfgang Helck zum 75. Geburtstag. Hamburg: Archäologisches Institut der Universtät Hamburg. pp. 159–164. 
  3. ^ Brovarski, Edward (1997). "Old Kingdom beaded collars". In Phillips, Jacke. Ancient Egypt, the Aegean, and the Near East: Studies in Honour of Martha Rhoads Bell. [San Antonio]: Van Siclen Books. pp. 137–162. 

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