jewelry, bead, pendant


1539-1077 BC


New Kingdom


5/8 x 5/8 in. (1.6 x 1.6 cm)

Object Number



This golden bead in the form of a falcon may have been one of many such beads strung together to create a necklace or other piece of jewelry or may have functioned as a sort of pendant. This piece represents a falcon with wings and feet outstretched, head in profile, and a body made in the shape of a cartouche. The falcon is an animal associated with the god Horus, the mythical king of Egypt who is often represented with a man's body and a falcon's head. In one Egyptian origin myth, the one relating to the establishment of the institution of kingship, the first god/king of Egypt is murdered by his jealous brother Seth, only to be avenged by his son Horus who takes the throne as the rightful king of Egypt. All Egyptian kings saw themselves as the heir to Horus and therefore imagery of the falcon was deeply tied to royal identity. This bead is unusual as it includes yet another sign of Egyptian kingship, that of the cartouche. The cartouche is a ovoid element with a horizontal line at its base. It is used in Egyptian written language to denote the name of a king and sometimes that of a queen. It derives from the Egyptian sign for shen meaning "everything" or "eternity". By enclosing the royal person's name in a cartouche, one was sure to set it apart visually from other individuals' names as well as represent the eternal nature of the king. In this bead we see two very important symbols relating to kingship that, when taken together, say much about the importance of the king in Egyptian society.

Credit Line

Gift of Mohamed Farid Khamis and Oriental Weavers


From Pharaohs to Emperors: New Egyptian and Classical Antiquities at Emory, Michael C. Carlos Museum, January 14 - April 2, 2006|
MCCM Permanent Collection Reinstallation, 2006 - Present
Pharaoh's Creatures: Animals from Ancient Egypt (London: Rupert Wace Ancient Art Ltd., 2004), number 33.


© Michael C. Carlos Museum, Emory University. Photo by Bruce M. White, 2005.
This image is provided by the Michael C. Carlos Museum of Emory University, who retains all rights in it. This image is made available for limited non-commercial, educational, and personal use only, or for fair use as defined by United States law. For all other uses, please contact the Michael C. Carlos Museum Office of Collections Services at +1(404) 727-4282 or mccm.collections.services@emory.edu. Users must cite the author and source of the image as they would material from any printed work, but not in any way that implies endorsement of the user or the user's use of the image. Users may not remove any copyright, trademark, or other proprietary notices, including without limitation attribution information, credits, and copyright notices that have been placed on or near the image by the Museum. The Museum assumes no responsibility for royalties or fees claimed by the artist or third parties. The User agrees to indemnify and hold harmless Emory University, its Michael C. Carlos Museum, its agents, employees, faculty members, students and trustees from and against any and all claims, losses, actions, damages, expenses, and all other liabilities, including but not limited to attorney’s fees, directly or indirectly arising out of or resulting from its use of photographic images for which permission is granted hereunder.

On View



“Falcon,” Michael C. Carlos Museum Collections Online, accessed February 20, 2019, http://carlos.digitalscholarship.emory.edu/items/show/7800.

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