Swimming-girl spoon fragment - ROM2018_16225_3


Swimming-girl spoon fragment

Medium:Steatite, carved
Geography: Undetermined site, Egypt
Date: c. 1550-1069 BC
Period: 18th-20th Dynasty, New Kingdom
3.8 × 2.6 × 5.2 cm
Object number: 948.34.30
Credit Line: Gift of Sir Robert Mond
On view
Gallery Location:Galleries of Africa: Egypt

This spoon is made in the shape of a swimming girl holding a rectangular container which forms the bowl of the spoon. The horizontal body of the swimmer which formed the handle is missing. This type of spoon begins in the 18th Dynasty and continues into Byzantine times.  Most of the spoons have been found in funerary contexts, but some have been excavated in palaces and houses. The traditional interpretation is that they were used in the application of cosmetics, ointment, perfume or eye paint.  Another possibilty is that the spoons would have had a ritual use. They may have been used to add myrrh to a fire or perhaps a spoonful of wine was poured for the deceased. The girl wears a short bobbed wig with hair indicated by incised cross-hatching. The facial features are well-modelled. There is a vertical fracture from back of shoulder to below breasts (Rexine Hummel & S.B. Shubert)

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