Friday, 10 June 2022

Treasures of Ancient Nubia

Gilt-silver mummy mask of Queen Malakaye (664–653 BC)
An exhibition at the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, titled 'Gold and the Gods: Jewels of Ancient Nubia', provided insight into the meticulous craftsmanship of Ancient Nubia. The show included more than 100 treasures from the MFA’s collection of jewelry from Ancient Nubia. The MFA’s collection dates from 1700 BC to AD 300 and is considered the most comprehensive of any outside of Khartoum. Gold and the Gods showcased elaborate necklaces, amulets, stacked bracelets, and earrings discovered inside the tombs of Nubian kings and queens.

Ancient Nubia ruled the entire Nile Valley during the apex of its power in the eighth century BC. Nubian artisans turned out some of the most sophisticated, finely crafted jewelry of the ancient world.
Hathor-headed crystal pendant (743–712 BC)
The exhibition included jewelry made with lapis lazuli, blue chalcedony, amethystine quartz, and carnelian. Some pieces incorporate enamel and glass, rare and valuable materials. Owners valued jewels as signs of wealth and status, but also for magical powers that protected them in life and the afterlife.
Nubian goldsmiths and jewelers employed methods that wouldn’t be reinvented in Europe for another thousand years.