Egyptian Alabaster Piriform Vessel

SKU: HQ.0014

Origin: Egypt
Circa: New Kingdom, 1550 - 1070 BC
Dimensions: 9" (22.5 cm) height
Medium: Alabaster

A hand-carved, alabaster jar displaying gorgeous natural bands in hues of creamy beige, golden caramel, and butterscotch. Boasting a silky smooth surface, the ancient vessel exhibits an elegant slender body with a narrow base, a high, round shoulder, a corseted neck, and a wide, flared rim. The interior cavity was drilled out using progressively finer drill bits and abrasive sand, and the protruding rings denote the shallow depths to which individual layers could be bored out. A superb stone vessel with expert artistry.

From the private collection of a North West London lady; previously with a central London gallery; formerly acquired before 1990

Fine condition, rim chipped, repaired

Alabaster, which is a form of gypsum or calcite - both soft to carve and smooth, was quarried along the length of the Nile, from Giza to just south of Luxor, and the Egyptians made carved alabaster pieces famous throughout the ancient world. The Egyptians were master carvers and used the abundant stone deposits in the Nile Valley and the Eastern Sahara throughout their history to fashion sculptures, vessels, and monumental buildings that were admired throughout the ancient world. The perfect symmetry of this example demonstrates their skill. The piece was drilled into, and then special tools were used to expand the drilled-upon areas, allowing the walls of the vessel to illuminate when light passes through the stone.

AN EGYPTIAN CALCITE JAR, Christies London, Sale 1561, October 1st, 2014, Lot 37


New Kingdom

Egyptian Alabaster Piriform Vessel

New Kingdom

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