Art/ Collection/ Collection/ Art Object

Relief fragment of a perfume press

Period:
Middle Kingdom
Dynasty:
Dynasty 11
Reign:
reign of Mentuhotep II, early
Date:
ca. 2051–2030 B.C.
Geography:
From Egypt, Upper Egypt, Thebes, Deir el-Bahri, Tomb of Neferu (TT 319, MMA 31), MMA excavations, 1923–25
Medium:
Limestone, paint
Dimensions:
H. 11 x W. 19 cm (4 5/16 x 7 1/2 in.)
Credit Line:
Rogers Fund, 1926
Accession Number:
26.3.353bb
On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 104
This small fragment of relief comes from a representation of a wine or oil press. The angular pole at the right belongs to a wooden construction from which hangs a sack in a net. Tightening the sack with a lever pressed the contents together until the last drops of liquid oozed out of the bottom.

The presence of a woman in this scene (part of her body is visible at left) suggests that we are seeing the production of perfume from flowers soaked in oil. Significantly, one of Neferu’s titles was “the one who sweetens the hall with her fragrant smell.”

For other reliefs from the tomb of Neferu, see 31.3.1 and 26.3.353*.
Museum excavations, 1923-1925. Acquired by the Museum in the division of finds.

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