Skip Navigation

Fragment of Spoon in Form of Lotus

Egyptian, Classical, Ancient Near Eastern Art

On View: Egyptian Orientation Gallery, 3rd Floor

Elaborate burials often included offerings of spoons with decorated bowls and handles, though their purpose is uncertain.

Early Egyptologists proposed that the spoons were used to remove solid ointments from wide-necked jars. Although many scholars still favor this traditional interpretation, others believe the spoons were cultic objects used in religious ceremonies. They probably served both functions: spoons decorated with images of birth-gods seem appropriate for domestic use; those with symbols of rebirth, such as the lotus, were probably intended for rituals.
  • Possible Place Made: Saqqara, Egypt
  • DATES ca. 1539-1292 B.C.E.
    DYNASTY Dynasty 18
    PERIOD New Kingdom
    DIMENSIONS 2 3/4 × 5 1/2 in. (7 × 14 cm)  (show scale)
    CREDIT LINE Charles Edwin Wilbour Fund
    CATALOGUE DESCRIPTION The upper part of a wooden toilet spoon in the form of a lotus plant. The flower forms the spoon and has a swivel lid on which the flower design is incised. Resting atop the flower is a lotus leaf. The inner area of the dish is divided into two parts, a. the flower area, b. the leaf area. On either side of the flower symmetrically placed are two lotus buds in relief. The buds and flower each have a separate stem (also in relief) which emanates from a rectangular area incised with lotus flowers and buds alternately. Below this is an incised rectangular area. All inlays are missing. The back is undecorated. Condition: The pin for the swivel is missing. The lower part of the handle is missing and there are several cracks in the piece and the lid.
    MUSEUM LOCATION This item is on view in Egyptian Orientation Gallery, 3rd Floor
    CAPTION Fragment of Spoon in Form of Lotus, ca. 1539-1292 B.C.E. Wood, 2 3/4 × 5 1/2 in. (7 × 14 cm). Brooklyn Museum, Charles Edwin Wilbour Fund, 37.606E. Creative Commons-BY (Photo: Brooklyn Museum, 37.606E_NegA_SL4.jpg)
    IMAGE overall, unedited master file, 37.606E_NegA_SL4.jpg. Brooklyn Museum photograph
    "CUR" at the beginning of an image file name means that the image was created by a curatorial staff member. These study images may be digital point-and-shoot photographs, when we don\'t yet have high-quality studio photography, or they may be scans of older negatives, slides, or photographic prints, providing historical documentation of the object.
    RIGHTS STATEMENT Creative Commons-BY
    You may download and use Brooklyn Museum images of this three-dimensional work in accordance with a Creative Commons license. Fair use, as understood under the United States Copyright Act, may also apply. Please include caption information from this page and credit the Brooklyn Museum. If you need a high resolution file, please fill out our online application form (charges apply). For further information about copyright, we recommend resources at the United States Library of Congress, Cornell University, Copyright and Cultural Institutions: Guidelines for U.S. Libraries, Archives, and Museums, and Copyright Watch. For more information about the Museum's rights project, including how rights types are assigned, please see our blog posts on copyright. If you have any information regarding this work and rights to it, please contact
    Not every record you will find here is complete. More information is available for some works than for others, and some entries have been updated more recently. Records are frequently reviewed and revised, and we welcome any additional information you might have.