From Egypt, Upper Egypt, Thebes, Asasif, Tomb CC 37, Chamber B, burial 78, Carnarvon/Carter excavations, 1907–11
Pottery, black ware
H. 14.5 (5 11/16 in); diam. 5.3 cm (2 1/16 in)
Rogers Fund, 1912
On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 114
Containers such as these (12.181.263, 12.181.264) were first imported into Egypt in the early Eighteenth Dynasty and are often found in modest burials. The shape of some of them, such as the one here with the longer neck, seems to be modeled after the inverted seedpod of the poppy (Papaver somniferum), cut to release its sap. This suggests that the jars once held opium, which is made from the sap. Opium is a powerful sedative that can be used not only as a painkiller but also in the treatment of diar-rhea, dysentery, fever, and similar complaints.
Excavated by Lord Carnarvon and Howard Carter before 1911. Retained by the Egyptian Antiquities Service (SAE) in the division of finds. Sold to the Metropolitan Museum of art by the Egyptian Government, 1912.