Group of Jewelry: Necklace with Melon-shaped Beads and Five Spiral Ring Attachments
The necklace in this set has beads of gold, lapis lazuli, and hematite. The largest beads are spherical and ribbed like melons: nine of them are made of lapis lazuli and two are gold. Five spiral rings of gold are also included in this group.
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About this Work
The development of irrigation, writing, and law codes in the city-states of Mesopotamia (modern Iraq) led to thriving communities that fostered art production. Sumerian artists, in particular, used materials such as lapis lazuli and gold as inlays in sumptuous furniture, ritual objects, and jewelry. Neither gold nor lapis lazuli, however, was available in Sumer or anywhere in Mesopotamia. Well-developed trade routes brought the dark blue stone from Afghanistan, and the gold probably came from Egypt or Anatolia (modern Turkey). The effort expended to access the materials added to the value of these objects as luxury items, and necklaces like this one seem to have been favored by Sumerian queens; similar examples have been found in the royal tombs at Ur.
Provenance research is ongoing for this and many other items in the Eskenazi Museum of Art permanent collection. For more information on the provenance of European paintings, sculptures, and drawings produced before 1946, please see our Nazi-Era Provenance Research Project. For all other inquiries, please contact the department curator with specific questions.
This item is currently off display. You may be able to see this artwork by filling out an art viewing room request.
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"Group of Jewelry: Necklace with Melon-shaped Beads and Five Spiral Ring Attachments | Collections Online." Collections Online. Sidney and Lois Eskenazi Museum of Art, Indiana University, 2020. https://artmuseum.indiana.edu/collections-online/browse/object.php?number=69.76.1