Ancient Egyptian elegant cosmetic vessel, in slender form tapering to a narrow base with two small lug handles
This a type of Alabastron vessels was used in the ancient world for holding oil, especially perfume or massage oils. They originated in ancient Egypt as containers carved from alabaster – hence the name – but spread via ancient Greece to other parts of the classical world.
Most types of alabastron have a narrow body with a rounded end, a narrow neck and a broad, splayed mouth. They were often left without handles, but some types were equipped with ear-shaped projections or lugs into which holes were punched. Strings were then put through these holes for easy mobility.
The alabaster that this vessel is carved from is also called "calcareous sinter", a type of travertine. It is cream-grey in color. This stone can also be called "calcite", which simply refers to Egyptian alabaster. It was an abundant resource in Egypt's eastern desert. This material was commonly used by the Egyptian craftsmen to make stone vessels. This type of rock is formed by "the chemical precipitation of water saturated with dissolved calcium carbonate.
Due to the availability of alabaster, Egyptians became masters of stone-carving. It is a soft stone that is easy to work into delicate shapes and polishes very well. When cut thinly, it can be translucent. Alabaster decorative inlays and jewelry were found in the tomb of King Tutankhamun. The stone-vessel industry blossomed in the Nile Valley, not in the eastern desert, due to smaller and more accessible alabaster deposits. After the value of the stone was fully realized, Egyptians began transporting blocks of alabaster from the deserts to the valley. The stone-vessel industry peaked during the Egyptian Early Dynastic Period.
Dated from, 1550 - 1000 BC
Measurements: Height: 15 cm - Diameter: 3 cm - Height on stand: 17 cm
Nicely displayed on a plexi-glass custom hand-made stand of high quality
Condition: Good condition with nice earthy patina, untouched as found!
Ancient Egyptian alabaster is a type of white translucent stone used in statuary, architecture, altars and vessels. It is a form of limestone more accurately described as travertine. It occurs principally in the area of Middle Egypt, the main Pharaonic source being Hatnub about ten miles southeast of the New Kingdom city at El-Amarina.
These vessels contained oils and other unguents that had been perfumed with various aromatic herbs and spices, for use on the living body or as sacred oils to anoint the mummy in the tomb at various stages of the ritual ‘opening of the mouth’ ceremony. From the early Dynastic period onwards alabaster was increasingly used for the production of cosmetic and funerary vessels and the skilled craftsmen chose and shaped the stone to maximise the decorative effect of the natural colour and banding.
Provenance; Aweidah's collection before 1970 - Registered at the IAA
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