Sunday, November 3, 2013

Sit Hathor's Alabaster

Fig. 1 - Alabaster canopic jar of the Princess
     I personally like the look of many ancient Egyptian objects carved from a soft stone known as alabaster or calcite. Alabaster is a white, very soft, stone that is used throughout Egyptian history for carving everything from royal statues to canonic jars. There are two examples of alabaster carving in the tomb of Princess Sit Hathor Yunet.

     Figure 1 is an alabaster canonic jar. The stone has some slightly different colored "veins" in it. These "blemishes" are part of the beauty of objects carved from this type of stone. The canonic jar is one of four human-headed jars found in the Princesses tomb.

Fig. 2 - alabaster jars (left), a khol pot (right front) and one of the obsidian jars
     There were also eight alabaster jars for ritual oils found in the tomb. The jars are all very similar and each is roughly 95 mm in height. Some traces of the original contents survived in two of these jars and proved to be a gum resin of some sort.

Fig. 3 - two razors and a pair of whetstones
     Also in figure 2 is a small kohl pot (mentioned in the previous post) and a set of jars made of obsidian and decorated with gold around their rims. A virtually identical set of these obsidian jars were found in a royal burial dating to the same period as these, but located in Byblos in what is now Lebanon. One wonders if these jars were not a gift sent from the King of Egypt to the King of Byblos.

     In figure three, notice the corroded razors and a pair of whetstones (one above the razors and one blow them) used to sharpen the razors. The handles of the razors are made of gold while the blades were made of bronze. The razors are about 17 cm long and weigh about 6.5 ounces.

Photos copyright (c) 2013 by John Freed

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