Alabaster vessel

Alabaster vessel

Old Kingdom
2649-2150 BC
Height: 190mm
Width: 125mm
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Cylindrical stone vessel with a flat everted rim and a smooth surface. The thick walls of the vessel protected fatty substances from decomposition. Vessels of this type produced in ancient Egypt were often imitations of ceramic or metal forms used in daily life. Placed in the tomb, they were to provide the deceased with food and drink in the afterlife.

This vessel is part of an assemblage of alabaster vessels discovered by Hermann Junker at Giza, in one of the mastabas (a type of tomb) from the 4th Dynasty period. Among 80 miniature vessels were various shapes intended for oil, beer, wine and food. They symbolised offerings made to the deceased. Many of them appear in the lists usually placed on the walls of tombs. A significant role among them was played by small containers for unguents and various ointments used in daily life and in tomb and temple rituals.


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