Meredith Fraser

  • Fellowship Dates 2015-2015
  • Research Topic Faience Menits in the New Kingdom through the Third Intermediate Period
  • Fellow or Grant Type Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs
  • Affiliation Pre-doctoral candidate Johns Hopkins University

The menit began as a ritual necklace associated with the cult of the goddess Hathor. During subsequent centuries, its uses and symbolic valences morphed, including its incorporation in votive and amuletic rites. Given the dramatic political and social changes that took place during the New Kingdom and the Third Intermediate Period (ca. 1550-664 BCE), such developments are hardly surprising, yet they do remain poorly understood due to a paucity of systematic study. In order to understand this transformation through time this study develops a chronological sequence of cultic objects, along with their associated counterpoises. The primary research methodology employs the physical examination of menits in the Egyptian Museum collection. The research clarifies changes in the form and decoration of menit counterpoises and, by extension, concurrent changes in its employment and symbolic significance that help to define broader transformations in religious practice and its manifestation. Prior research focuses on the symbolism of the object, particularly the fertility or regenerative aspects. In contrast, this diachronic study examines changes in its symbolic value and use: How might shifting emphases in the symbolic valences of the menit between the Middle Kingdom and the Late Period be evaluated? What religious notions changed in these time periods that might help to account for changing emphases in the menit’s power? How might perceptions of female deities and females within society have connected with these shifts?

TopicsArt History, Egyptology, Museums & Objects, ReligionThemeGods & Goddesses, ReligionHistoric PeriodNew Kingdom, Third Intermediate Period


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