Athena Review Image Archive  

Lahun: gold lion armlets from 12th dynasty Tomb 8

Armlets from Tomb 8 at Lahun with gold lions and gold, turquoise, and carnellian beads (Brunton 1920, pls. 2+3

The person buried at Tomb 8, one of four tombs at the foot of Senusert II's pyramid,  has been identified as Princess Sat-hathor-Ant, a grandaughter of Senusert II (1897-1878 BC) who died 40 years after him in ca. 1838 BC. While her mummy was removed by ancient tomb-robbers, a hidden case of Sat-hathor's jewelry was found intact in 1913 excavations by Flinders Petrie and Guy Brunton (Brunton 1920). Much of this is now in the Metropolitan Museum in New York, who sponsored  ongoing work at this and other sites.

The jewelry from Tomb 8 included four armlets made of
strands of tiny beads made of gold, turquoise, and carnellan, with clasps of beaten or repousee gold at the ends, and miniature gold lions in resting position (classified as Gold Couchant Lions by Brunton, their discoverer).

While the four armlets were similar in makeup and perhaps contemporary, two had a single strand of beads with a single thread hole in their bases (a), and two had a double strand with two thread holes in their bases. The single- thread lions (
17 and 20 mm long) are hollow and were mold-cast by the lost wax method, with the tails soldered on and additional details of mane and eyes chased on. The smaller lions with double threads (16 and 13 mm long) are similar in make but, according to Brunton, considerably less well made.

 The double-thread lions were found with two intact strings of minute beads extending from the lion's hind-quarters, in the order of 7 turquoise, 3 gold, 5 carnelian, 3 gold beads. If there is any difference in the age of these, according to Bruton the single thread wristlets, which have the larger and better wrought lions, would be the earlier.  The double thread, however, was an improvement intended to prevent twisting. Similar gold lions were found at Dahshur in the tomb of the nearly contemporary Princess Meryt, and also occur in silver in private tombs.

Athena Review Image Archive™     back issues 

Main index of Athena Review  

Copyright  ©  1996-2016    Athena Publications, Inc.  (All Rights Reserved).

Copyright  ©  2017 Rust Family Foundation