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Amarna Ring bezels with cartouches

This use of ring bezels bearing a king’s name could be seen as kingly propaganda or a demand from the populace for the protection, connection with divinity, or social status resulting from contact with the king’s name. Ring bezels with names of kings were introduced during the reign of Amenhotep III and continued until the end of the New Kingdom. As Stevens (2006, 67) points out, such artefacts have been found not only in Amarna but also domestic sites at Medinet Habu, Malkata and in shrines and burials.

Kate Bosse Griffiths (1980, 71-72) believed faience rings were only given to important people. However, while a number were owned by Tutankhamun, or at least found in his tomb, others were found in houses of commoners at Amarna (Boyce 1989, 168). Some were even found in the workmen’s village. Amulets too are found across the social strata (Boyce 1995, 339). It has been suggested that some rings may not have been worn as rings but rather suspended or even used as foundation deposits (Boyce 1989, 161). The size of some (too small or large to wear on a finger) suggests use as a votive offering or to be hung round the neck. All, including those with the names of kings, were probably amuletic.  

Rings were made by casting ring and bezel in separate moulds (Boyce 1989, 162).

In the Egypt Centre ring bezels with cartouches include those of:

Amenhotep III

Akhenaten

Smenkhkare

Tutankhamun

Nefernefruaten

 

References and Further Reading 

Bosse-Griffiths, K. 1980. Two Lute-Players of the Amarna Era. In Journal of Egyptian Archaeology, 66, 70-82. 

Boyce, A. 1989. Notes on the Manufacture and Use of Faience Rings at Amarna. In Kemp, B.J. Amarna Reports V. London: Egypt Exploration Society. 160-168. 

Boyce, A. 1995. Collar and Necklace Designs at Amarna: A Preliminary Study of Faience Pendants. In Kemp, B.J. Amarna Reports VI. London: Egypt Exploration Society. 336-371. 

Shaw, I. 1984. Ring Bezels at Amarna. In Kemp, B.J. Amarna Reports I. London: Egypt Exploration Society. 124-132. 

Stevens, A. 2006. Private Religion at Amarna. The Material Evidence. BAR International Series 1587. Oxford: Archeopress.

 

 

 

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