Cylinder beaker - ROM2018_16145_88


Cylinder beaker

Medium:Travertine (Egyptian Alabaster)
Geography: Egypt
Date: c. 2686-2181 BC
Period: 3rd-6th Dynasty, Old Kingdom
4.8 × 6 cm
Object number: 909.80.84
On view
Gallery Location:Galleries of Africa: Egypt

Vessels of this beaker shape have been found containing traces of the seven sacred oils used in mummification and in the Opening of the Mouth Ceremony.  Such jars would then have been left with the dead.  The very small size could suggest that this is a 'dummy vessel' made only for the grave, though very small amounts of the sacred oils seem to have been used to annoint the body of the deceased during the funerary rituals.

Although travertine is easier to carve than many of the fine hard stones used in rituals in the Old Kingdom, the artist chose a particulary beautiful piece, with a translucent band just above the middle, and worked the small piece with care.

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