Vessel with lid

Egyptian
Early Dynastic Period, Dynasty 2, reign of Khase
2676–2649 B.C.


Findspot: Egypt, Abydos, tomb of Khasekhemwy

Dimensions

Height x diameter: 63 x 61 cm (24 13/16 x 24 in.)

Accession Number

01.7287

Medium or Technique

Dolomite, gold

On View

Egypt: Pre-Dynastic and Dynastic (Gallery 105A)

Collections

The Ancient World

Classifications

Vessels

This graceful little ointment jar, one of several from the tomb of Second Dynasty king Khasekhemwy, demonstrates both the wealth of the early royal tombs and the superb craft of the Early Dynastic royal workshops. To produce the set of gold-topped vessels, Khasekhemwy’s artists selected distinctive and beautiful stone in a wide range of colors, such as this unusual black-veined variety of limestone. The circular gold-foil cover, held in place by a delicate gold wire, imitates a piece of cloth or leather tied with a string. Tiny repoussé dots effectively convey the texture of the material. The technique of manufacturing the tie is particularly impressive - thin bands of gold have been painstakingly twisted to resemble a cord and are wound twice around the neck of the jar. A ball of clay at the end of the wire would have served as a seal. The interior of the jar was carefully hollowed out using a simple stone-tipped drill with abrasive sand. Like several other stone vessels from the tomb, this one has a hole through the base, which would have been closed in ancient times with a stone plug.


This ointment jar is one of several from the tomb of the second dynasty king Khasekhemwy. The royal artisans selected distinctive and beautiful stone in a variety of colors, including this unusual black-veined limestone. The gold foil cover, held in place by a delicately braided gold wire, imitates a piece of cloth or leather tied with a string.

Provenance

From Abydos, tomb of Khasekhemwy. 1901: excavated by William Matthew Flinders Petrie for the Egypt Exploration Fund, assigned to the Egypt Exploration Fund in the division of finds by the government of Egypt, received by the MFA through subscription to the Egypt Exploration Fund.
(Accession Date: August 1, 1901)

Credit Line

Egypt Exploration Fund by subscription