Female monkey and young as an ointment vessel.
Ointments and oils were preferably kept in stone vessels. The most popular variety was that made of the bright and smooth calcite travertine, often erroneously called Egyptian alabaster. The cosmetic requisites were often decorated in an artistic manner. This container for perfumed oil is shaped like a female monkey pressing its young to its breast. A strong image has been created using simple techniques. The symbolism of the protective and loving mother animal was well-suited to a container for a medicinal substance. Other examples of vessels of this shape are known, but only from the Old Kingdom. The most recent find of such a vessel was made in the Dakhleh Oasis. Like the Vienna example, the Dakhleh vessel has a groove around the neck. Remains of a coloured paste inside this groove indicate that both vessels had the addition of a coloured collar. The Vienna vessel bears the name of King Meri-re (Pepi I) incised on the right arm of the mother monkey. Perhaps this indicates that the piece was a royal gift.
|KUNSTHISTORISCHES MUSEUM [09/001] VIENNA|
|COSMETIC AND MEDICAL EQUIPMENT AND IMPLEMENTS|
- Demel, H., Ein ägyptisches Salbengefäß aus dem Alten Reich. Jahrbuch der Kunsthististorischen Sammlungen in Wien. Neue Folge. 6. 1932. 3-8. figs. 1-4;
- Katalog "5000 Jahre Ägyptische Kunst", Wien (1962).
- Satzinger, H., Das Kunsthistorische Museum in Wien. Die Ägyptisch-Orientalische Sammlung. Zaberns Bildbände zur Archäologie 14. Mainz. 1994.