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An Egyptian Alabaster Cosmetic Vessel with Lid, Middle Kingdom, ca. 2040-1786

EV1704

A beautiful squat jar of creamy alabaster with smooth convex sides that swell upward from a small, footed base into a high shoulder leading to a wide rim. A small round mouth leads to the interior, which was narrowly drilled and does not conform to the shape of the body. A flat alabaster lid with a centered protruding piece to sit in the mouth accompanies the jar.

Vessels like these were used for storing kohl, or eye paint. Egyptians used kohl extensively, both to emphasize and protect their eyes. The wide rim of this small pot meant that small crumbs of this precious product, from distant Arabian mines by the Red Sea, were not wasted. For similar example see: Petrie "Stone and Metal Vases" (1917) plate XXX #733, and p. 142-144 in Bourriau, Pharaohs and Mortals, Egyptian Art in the Middle Kingdom.

Dimensions: Height: 1 1/2 inches (3.8 cm)

Condition: Intact and in excellent good condition overall.  A very fine example.

Provenance:  Ex. private collection of Mrs. Gerald Bronfman, Canada, acquired from Charles Ede in the 1960's- 1980's. Canadian Bronfman family owes its initial fame to Samuel Bronfman (1889–1971), who made a fortune in the alcoholic distilled beverage business during the 20th century through the family's Seagram Company.


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