Egyptian Bronze Hes Libation Vessel

SKU: MS.0053

Origin: Egypt
Circa: New Kingdom - Third Intermediate Period, c. 1550 - 945 BC
Dimensions: 9.65" Height x 2.75" Width (24.5cms x 7cms)
Medium: Bronze

This elegantly proportioned vase called a Hes vessel, was traditionally used for offering libations of cool water to the gods. The name Hes refers to it's form mimicking the hieroglyph of the same shape.  Our example, cast in bronze, retains a rich emerald green patina with patches of burgundy. It has flat disc rim, a short cylindrical neck and an sensuous curvilinear body, coming to a slightly flared flat base.

Private collection, France, acquired from Galerie Kamer & Cie, Paris, circa 1960s. with Galerie Archeologie, Paris, 1982. Anonymous sale; Christie’s, New York, 11 June 2003, lot 4.

Intact, with no visible repair or restoration. Overall with mottled dark brown and green patination. With some rough surface texture and pitting from corrosion removal. Some original bronze colour is visible in minor areas particularly on the base.

The jar's shape represents the hieroglyph hes, meaning 'to praise' and was traditionally used to pour out purified liquid during the performance of rituals. Ideally this would have been used by the king, who was regarded as the primary priest of all the gods.

For simliar see fig. 17, pp. 387-389 in D. Polz, et al., Bericht über die 6, 7, und 8. Grabungskampagne in der Nekropole von Dra Abu el-Naga in Mitteilungen des Deutschen Archäologischen Instituts, Abteilung Kairo, Mainz, 1999, pp. 387-389, fig. 17.

Graefe, Erhart 1981. Untersuchungen zur Verwaltung un Geschichte der Institution der Gottesgemahlin des Amun vom Beginn des Neuen Reiches bis zur Spatzeit, 2. Ägyptologische Abhandlungen, Wiesbaden: Otto Harrassowitz, pp. 114-5.


New Kingdom

Egyptian Bronze Hes Libation Vessel

New Kingdom

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