Ancient Egypt, New Kingdom Period, 19th Dynasty, reign of Ramses II, ca. 1279 to 1213 BCE. A petite blue-glazed faience offering cup, cylindrical and tapering in form, with a slightly-flared foot and rim, with a single column illustrating the cartouche of Ramses II (also Rameses and Ramesses) delineated in black paint. The function of this vessel was funerary. Similar examples are inscribed with dedications to Sokar, the Egyptian god of the underworld, and give the king's name while saying that he was beloved by the underworld god Sokar. Faience cups were placed in tombs holding different kinds of food or drink as an offering. Blue faience symbolized the color of the Nile river, both on earth and in the afterlife. An extremely rare example. Size: 1.5" W x 2.25" H (3.8 cm x 5.7 cm).
Faience was known as "tjehnet" to the ancient Egyptians, meaning brilliant or dazzling. It was made by grinding quartz or sand crystals together with various elements, including copper oxide, which gave it its distinctive blue-green tint. The Egyptians believed that blue faience reflected the color of the river Nile both on earth and in the afterlife, and funerary objects are often made from this material.
A similar example with a second column of hieroglyphic text hammered for $3,760 at Christie's, New York Antiquities Auction (sale 9796, December 5 - 6, 2001, lot 322 [second from left]): https://www.christies.com/lotfinder/lot/an-egyptian-faience-cup-of-ramesses-ii-3831597-details.aspx?from=searchresults&intObjectID=3831597&sid=a8f0a946-f5d4-4b2d-bce0-26b21279e428
Provenance: private East Coast, USA collection
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