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Flower power

Broad collar – MET – [08.200.30](

Broad collar – MET – 08.200.30

A “broad collar” (wesekh-collar, fig. 1) is used as a decoration around the neck on the lid of the sarcophagus. The ends of the collar have traditionally been decorated with the heads of falcons. The beads in this collar are shaped like flowers. The flower ornaments in the outer row are papyrus flowers, followed by lilies with curled petals. The next row consists of lotus flowers and leaves followed by papyrus flowers and leaves.

Papyrus flowers were associated with the primordial beginning of the world, due to their association with one of several Egyptian creation myths. The use of papyrus flowers in this collar can also be attributed to the fertile properties of papyrus marshes. J. Kamrin ‘Papyrus in Ancient Egypt’, Heilbrunn Timeline of Art History (New York, 2015) Lotus flowers stand for regeneration, rebirth, and the daily cycle of the sun. That is why lotus flowers can often be found as part of the decoration on a sarcophagus. I. Shaw, P. Nicholson, The British Museum dictionary of Ancient Egypt (London, 2008), 164-165

By incorporating these flowers in the decoration of the collar, the deceased was aided in his journey to the afterlife. This broad collar is, therefore, a very common decoration on Egyptian sarcophagi and coffins). M. Buhl, The late Egyptian anthropoid stone sarcophagi (Copenhagen, 1959), 155-158.