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Lot 0002A
Ancient Egypt, Old Kingdom, ca. 2500 BCE. A beautiful drilled alabaster vessel with a decorative rim and a beehive-shaped body. The alabaster is pretty and mottled, cream and butter-colored, and glows when held to a light source. The raised rim dips in on one side, with two incised lines forming grooves that may have allowed the vessel's contents to be poured through two very small passages while the lid rested atop it. The rim is also drilled through directly opposite those grooves, perhaps to allow the lid to be sewn in place. Below the rim, a round, jutting lip could have caught any escaping liquid. The body then flares outward, decorated around its center with two lightly incised bands and above its flat base with two similar bands. Size: 3.75" W x 3.45" H (9.5 cm x 8.8 cm)

Alabaster, which is a form of gypsum or calcite, soft to carve and smooth, was quarried along the length of the Nile, from Giza to just south of Luxor, and the Egyptians made its carved form famous throughout the ancient world. A thousand years later, the Greeks made vessels like this out of pottery and painted them white in imitation of the beautiful stone. On this example, as you examine the interior, you can see the grooves left behind from carving and smoothing it into its current form.

Provenance: private East Coast, USA collection

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Surface pitting and scoring, especially on the underside. The interior has some surface cracks and losses on its base like someone ground something inside of it. An old collection sticker on the underside.

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Egyptian Alabaster Vessel with Decorative Rim

Estimate $1,000 - $1,500Feb 15, 2018