Circa: 14 th Century BC
Style: Armana Period
Faience, the use of which dates back to pre- dynastic times, is a glasslike non-clay substance made of materials common to Egypt: ground quartz, crushed quartz pebbles, flint, a soluble salt-like baking soda and lime. Colour varied the most common colour is blue, which was achieved through the application of ground copper. Called tjehnet by the ancient Egyptians (meaning that which is brilliant or scintillating) faience was thought to be endowed with the immortal light of the sun, moon and stars, and was believed to be symbolic of rebirth. The associations of faience were so strong that it is often associated with burial contexts, guaranteeing some form of immortality for the deceased. Various objects, from shabtis to tiny models of household articles, were commonly made from faience and placed in the tomb.
Most ancient Egyptian beads were made of faience, a glass-composite glaze which was introduced as early as the Pre-Dynastic period. According to Egyptologists, most beads were made on an axis, probably of thread, which would burn up during firing, leaving a hole. Disc, ring and tubular beads were made by coating the axis with the unfired body-paste, rolling the cylinder to an even diameter on a flat surface, and then scoring it with a knife into sections of the desired length. Other shapes, such as ball beads, were rolled between the hands and perforated while still wet with a stiff point such as a wire needle. The beads were then dried, coating with glaze (if the glaze had not already been mixed with the paste), and fired. The firing process often gave the beads a beautiful translucent quality. The majority of faience beads are blue or green in color, but black, red yellow and white ones were also produced, especially in the New Egyptian Kingdom. - (FJ.7259)