Swimming-girl spoon fragment - ROM2018_16224_76


Swimming-girl spoon fragment

Medium:Ivory, carved
Geography: Undetermined site, Egypt
Date: c. 1550-1186 BC
Period: 18th-19th Dynasty, New Kingdom
6.4 × 1.2 × 1.7 cm
Object number: 925.57.1
On view
Gallery Location:Galleries of Africa: Egypt

This spoon is made in the shape of a nude swimming girl. The horizontal girl depicted as a swimmer floating in water forms the handle. Her outstretched arms hold a rectangular container forming the bowl of the spoon. 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 head and feet of this figure have been restored and much of the surface is worn and has been repaired. (Rexine Hummel & S.B. Shubert)

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