In Ancient Egypt, alabaster jars were used as containers for ointment, perfume, and other cosmetic products, such as kohl. The alabaster used by ancient civilisations in the wider Middle East (including Egypt and Mesopotamia) is also called “oriental alabaster”, which is a type of calcite. Many ancient people used alabaster for decoration, as it was easy to carve and could be treated in such a way as to resemble marble. The name “alabaster” is thought to have derived from the Ancient Egyptian, ‘a-labaste‘, which refers to the vessels of the goddess, Bastet. Usually depicted as a lioness, her figure would often sit on top of alabaster vessels.
Large Egyptian Alabaster Jar
A very fine example of a large Egyptian alabaster jar. The vessel features a flat base and an egg-shaped body, that gently curves upwards to a narrow neck and a wide, flat rim. The colouring is enhanced by the thin veins of white that encircle the piece, providing it with a pleasing visual pattern.
Period: Late Period - Ptolemaic Period
Provenance: Ex Gottfried and Helga Hertel collection, Cologne, Germany; acquired before 1992.
Condition: Very fine condition, small chip to the rim.