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Egyptian Alabaster Mortar w/ Four Handles

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Lot 0002E Details

Description
Egypt, Late Dynastic to Ptolemaic Period, ca. 664 to 30 BCE. A finely preserved mortar of a sizable form, hand-carved from honey-yellow alabaster. The vessel is defined by a flat circular base, a tall hemispherical body with a deep basin, a flat shoulder, and four protruding handles spaced equidistantly around the circumference. The surfaces of the shoulder and top half of the basin walls are incredibly smooth to the touch, and the lower half of the basin exhibits a coarse texture perhaps formed from centuries of gradual degradation. In ancient Egypt, mortars and pestles were used for a variety of tasks, including dehusking hulled wheat, making pastes for construction, grinding ingredients for medicinal remedies, and pulverizing other foodstuffs, though they were perhaps used as funerary offering bowls for its deceased owner. Smaller mortars have been found in the domestic housing at workmen's villages excavated at Deir el-Medina and Amarna. Size: 15.1" W x 6.8" H (38.4 cm x 17.3 cm).

A stylistically similar example, of a much smaller size and carved from banded alabaster, hammered for $8,750 at Christie's, New York "Antiquities" auction (sale 2605, December 5, 2012, lot 135).

Provenance: private J.H. collection, Beaverton, Oregon, USA, acquired before 2017; ex-Relics of the Nile, Lexington, Kentucky, USA

All items legal to buy/sell under U.S. Statute covering cultural patrimony Code 2600, CHAPTER 14, and are guaranteed to be as described or your money back.

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#149586
Condition
Original pestle missing. Minor chips and abrasions to basin, handles, body, and base, with light encrustations, and light pitting in some areas, otherwise intact and very good. Nice earthen deposits throughout, and smooth patina along shoulders, body, and top half of basin interior.
Buyer's Premium
  • 24.5%

Egyptian Alabaster Mortar w/ Four Handles

Estimate $3,400 - $5,100Jul 01, 2020
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