Height: 14.000 cm
Length: 19.000 cm
Ancient Egypt and Sudan
Lidded basket containing fruit
Probably 18th Dynasty, 1550-1300 BC
A gift fit for the Afterlife
This small object is an example of Egyptian basketry at its finest. It is made of palm fibre, very finely put together. Some strands of black material have been inserted into the weave of the basketry, so that a small amount of patterning appears on the outside. Inside is some fruit from the dom palm tree.
A basket of this type and quality is unlikely to have come from a domestic dwelling, but rather from a tomb. Domestic baskets were essentially functional, and less finely made. High quality baskets have been found in some of the tombs in the Theban necropolis, and were probably specially made for this purpose.
dom palm fruit inside the basket had symbolic significance in
ancient Egypt. In one famous passage from the New Kingdom
(1550-1070 BC) texts, known as the 'Late Egyptian
Miscellanies', the god
Y. J.-L. Gourlay, Les sparteries de Deir el-Médi (Cairo, Institut Français d'archeologie orientale, 1981)
W. Wendrich, Who is afraid of basketry? (Leiden, 1991)
I. Shaw and P. Nicholson (eds.), British Museum dictionary of A (London, The British Museum Press, 1995)