Queen Puabi’s Headdress and Beaded Cape

by Dynastic III


Queen Puabi's Headdress and Beaded Cape at the University of Pennsylvania Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology

Credit: Courtesy Penn Museum



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Queen Puabi's headdress, beaded cape and jewelry, all ca. 2550 BCE (includes comb, hair rings, wreaths, hair ribbons, and earrings) of gold, lapis lazuli, and carnelian, was excavated in the early 1930s by a joint Penn Museum/British Museum team, at the ancient Mesopotamian Royal Cemetery of Ur, in what is now Iraq. The Queen went to her final resting place accompanied by several hundred female attendants, several guards, and a rich cache of objects. Puabi's headdress included a frontlet with beads and pendant gold rings, two wreaths with poplar leaves, a wreath with willow leaves and inlaid rosettes, and a string of lapis lazuli beads. The comb would have been inserted in her hair at the back, leaving the flowers floating over her head. Her beaded cape and jewelry includes pins of gold and lapis lazuli, a gold, lapis lazuli and carnelian garter, lapis lazuli and carnelian cuff, and gold finger rings.  Queen Puabi’s reconstructed headdress and cape are on view in the Penn Museum’s exhibition Iraq’s Ancient Past: Rediscovering Ur’s Royal Cemetery.