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Faience bowl with pool and lotus motifs

 

Diameter: 25.400 cm

EA 4790

Ancient Egypt and Sudan

    Faience bowl with pool and lotus motifs

    From Egypt
    Early 18th Dynasty, around 1450 BC

    A symbol of hope for a new life

    Fragments of bowls such as this have been found in temples and, less frequently, in tombs. In a tomb context, most have been found in non-royal and female tombs. To the ancient Egyptians, the image of a pool with lotus flowers was symbolic of rebirth and new life; when placed in tombs, the bowls can be interpreted as expressing a wish for their owners to be regenerated in the Afterlife.

    Other examples of similar bowls display motifs relating to the goddess Hathor, and it is thought that these bowls would have been votive offerings to her.

    It is unclear whether these bowls originally contained anything, although one example has been identified as possibly containing a milky substance. Very probably they served a variety of functions, ranging from symbolic to the actual presentation of food and drink.

    F.D. Friedman (ed.), Gifts of the Nile: ancient Egy (London, Thames and Hudson, 1998)

    G. Pinch, Votive Offerings to Hathor (Oxford, Griffith Institute, Ashmolean Museum, 1993)

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