Photo © President and Fellows of Harvard College
Identification and Creation
Object Number
2020.287
Title
Bead with Crocodiles
Classification
Jewelry
Date
750-650 BCE
Period
Late Period, Dynasty 25
Culture
Egyptian
Persistent Link
https://hvrd.art/o/371009
Physical Descriptions
Medium
Glazed steatite
Dimensions
3.5 × 1.5 cm (1 3/8 × 9/16 in.)
Provenance
[Kelekian Associates, New York, (by 1982-1985], sold; to Robert and Sally Huxley, New York (1985-2020), gift; to the Harvard Art Museums.
Acquisition and Rights
Credit Line
Harvard Art Museums/Arthur M. Sackler Museum, Gift of Robert and Sally Huxley in memory of the Kelekian Family
Accession Year
2020
Object Number
2020.287
Division
Asian and Mediterranean Art
Contact
am_asianmediterranean@harvard.edu
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Descriptions
Description
This elongated, slightly convex bead bears four simplified representations of crocodiles, each facing in the opposite direction from its neighbors. A branch-like motif fills the space between the animals, perhaps indicative of a marsh or similar watery environment. The fierce creatures would have served as apotropaic emblems to ward off actual crocodiles, and may have referred to the crocodile god Sobek. Carved from soft steatite (schist or "soapstone"), the bead was kiln-fired to harden it. Before firing, it was covered in a glaze made from powered quartz and copper, whose originally bluish color has faded to a light brown.

This record has been reviewed by the curatorial staff but may be incomplete. Our records are frequently revised and enhanced. For more information please contact the Division of Asian and Mediterranean Art at am_asianmediterranean@harvard.edu