Jar Made in Two Parts
Egyptian, Classical, Ancient Near Eastern Art
On View: Pre-Dynastic, Egyptian Galleries, 3rd Floor
Almost all of the small figures in this case originally were placed in temples.
We do not know the significance of many of these early objects. The lion probably embodied divine or royal power, and frogs may have provided protection during childbirth, as in later times.
The figure of a squatting little boy in this case may have been offered to a god as the expression of a wish to bear children. The destructive powers of animals such as pigs, hippos, and scorpions could apparently be neutralized and even made useful through their images, as in the hippo-headed top of a mace (war club).
The ivory lioness was part of a common board game, of which partial sets have survived. The opposing side’s pieces were carved ivory figures of crouching lions or dogs.
ca. 2800-2675 B.C.E.
early Dynastic Period
4 5/16 x Diam. 5 7/8 in. (10.9 x 15 cm) (show scale)
Charles Edwin Wilbour Fund
Mohamerieh, Egypt, second period, probably Tomb No. 84; 1907, excavated by Henri de Morgan for the Brooklyn Museum.
Jar Made in Two Parts, ca. 2800-2675 B.C.E. Egyptian alabaster, 4 5/16 x Diam. 5 7/8 in. (10.9 x 15 cm). Brooklyn Museum, Charles Edwin Wilbour Fund, 07.447.27a-b. Creative Commons-BY (Photo: Brooklyn Museum, CUR.07.447.27a-b_NegA_print_bw.jpg)
. Brooklyn Museum photograph, 2013
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How hard is alabaster to carve? Were metal tools required to make this?
Alabaster is relatively soft. At this early date, metal tools would not have been used. I believe it would have been abraded slowly using other rough stones. The fine finish would be achieved by rubbing the surface with sand.