The head of an ancient Egyptian alabaster cat-shaped cosmetic vessel with eyes made of rock crystal. 12th Dynasty, Middle Kingdom, 1990–1900 BCE.

Margie Jones
07/11/2023

The head of an ancient Egyptian alabaster cat-shaped cosmetic vessel with eyes made of rock crystal is a remarkable artifact from the 12th Dynasty, Middle Kingdom, dating back to 1990–1900 BCE.

This exquisite piece showcases the craftsmanship and artistic skills of ancient Egyptian artisans. The cat-shaped vessel, made of alabaster, is a testament to the importance of feline symbolism in ancient Egyptian culture. Cats were highly revered and considered sacred animals, often associated with the goddess Bastet.

The detailed carving and smooth finish of the alabaster vessel highlight the meticulous attention to detail. The eyes, made of rock crystal, add a touch of elegance to the overall design. The choice of rock crystal for the eyes was not only aesthetically pleasing but also symbolically significant, as rock crystal was believed to have protective and healing properties.

This cosmetic vessel would have been used to store and apply cosmetics, a practice that held great importance in ancient Egyptian culture. The use of cosmetics was not only for beautification but also had religious and spiritual connotations. Egyptians believed that cosmetics had magical and protective powers, and they were often used in religious rituals and ceremonies.

The cat-shaped vessel represents the fusion of art and functionality in ancient Egyptian society. It serves as a testament to the rich cultural and artistic heritage of the Middle Kingdom. Today, this exquisite artifact stands as a testament to the craftsmanship and artistic prowess of the ancient Egyptians, providing us with a glimpse into their fascinating civilization.

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