Egypt, New Kingdom Period, mid-18th Dynasty, ca. 1492 to 1425 BCE. Expertly carved from beautiful alabaster, this is a choice cosmetic vessel with an exceptionally thin body - well executed and of the highest quality craftsmanship! The vessel rests on a flat ring base supporting a squat, apple-shaped body with a cylindrical neck that resolves in a flat rim. In addition to this stunning form, the alabaster itself is inherently beautiful; when held to the light to present a lustrous white glow. The stone was carefully shaved to such a sheer layer it is nearly translucent! This type of vessel would have likely held cosmetics, perfumed oils, or perhaps animal fats to be used as moisturizers or other salves to protect against the harsh Egyptian sun. Size: 2" Diameter x 2.25" H (5.1 cm x 5.7 cm)
Alabaster, which is a form of gypsum or calcite, was quarried along the length of the Nile River, from Giza to just south of Luxor, and the Egyptians made its carved forms famous throughout the ancient world. A thousand years later, while less common than black-figure or red-figure techniques, the Greeks made vessels like this out of pottery and painted them with white clay paint to imitate this beautiful stone.
Cf. The Metropolitan Museum of Art, accession number 36.3.61
Provenance: private Toronto, Ontario, Canada collection; ex-William Kelley Simpson (1928-2017) collection, professor of Egyptology, Archaeology, Ancient Egyptian Literature, and Afro-Asian Languages at Yale University, also co-director of the Yale University Expedition to Abydos, Egypt, acquired before 2000
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Small chips to base foot and minor nicks to rim. Intact and choice. Old inventory label beneath base.