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Faience rhyton


Length: 23.500 cm

EA 22731

Room 12: Minoan and Mycenaean

    Faience rhyton

    From Egypt
    18th Dynasty (about 1550-1295 BC)

    Copying the form of a characteristic Middle Minoan vessel

    The conical rhyton, a ritual pouring vessel or sprinkler, was a type of object that was first developed in Middle Minoan Crete. It is one of a number of Cretan vessel types depicted in tomb paintings in Thebes of the Eighteenth Dynasty. The unusual shape evidently appealed to the Egyptian élite, who copied it in faience. However, the applied decoration, a combination of a plant motif at the bottom and geometric shapes at the top, was purely Egyptian.

    There is no evidence of the function of these vessels in ancient Egypt. However, though we do not know the provenance of this rhyton, it seems likely that it was placed in a tomb and the use of the plant motifs and the blue faience suggests the symbolism of rebirth.

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