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note #2

I first saw dried fava beans in an open bin in a middle eastern grocery store. I was immediately drawn to their tactile forms and warm earthy tones. I bought several pounds and took them home to experiment with. I was pleased to find that if I used a light touch (and a variable speed drill), I could pierce the bean without splitting the shell (at least most of the time). I prepared a quantity of them for stringing and began to play.

The first completed piece incorporating fava beans was inspired by the desiccated remains of a floral collar worn at the funerary banquet of Tutankhamen (found in a cache of materials associated with Tut's burial and now in the collection of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, NYC). When fresh these floral collars were a colorful mix of leaves, flowers, seeds, and faience (quartz-based glazed composition) beads.

 

More durable versions were replicated entirely in faience. However, despite its faded and tattered condition the Met's collar had always appealed to me as a reminder of the human side of an exalted ancient culture generally perceived to have valued the permanent rather than the ephemeral. With that first fava bean collar, I was trying to capture the essence of that fragile human artifact.


1) First fava collar modeled by Kim Ameen.
2) Remains of floral collar worn at funerary banquet of Tutankhamen (image copied from: http://www.metmuseum.org/toah/works-of-art/09.184.214-.216).
3) Mix of new and aged dried fava beans.
4) Fava full collar available at www.wadibijou.com
5) Fava full collar now in private collection.
6) Fava collar now in private collection.

 

fava1

TutCollar FavaBeans FavaFullCollar
fava full collar2 fava short collar