Two Vases in the Shape of a Mother Monkey with her Young
reigns of Pepi I and Merenre
ca. 2289–2246 BC
Travertine (Egyptian alabaster), paint, resin and pigment
30.8.134: h. 18.6 cm (7 5/16 in.)
1992.338: h. 13.7 cm (5 3/8 in.)
Theodore M. Davis Collection, Bequest of Theodore M. Davis, 1915 (30.8.134); Purchase, Joseph Pulitzer Bequest, Fletcher Fund, and Lila Acheson Wallace, Russell and Judy Carson, William Kelly Simpson, and Vaughn Foundation Gifts, in honor of Henry George Fischer, 1992 (1992.338)
These charming vases are carved in the shape of mother monkeys each holding a baby clinging tightly to her chest. Alluding to motherhood and fertility, and also to the exotic lands that provided rare ingredients for the rejuvenating oils and unguents stored inside, they are inscribed wtih references to the kings' jubilee. It is likely that the vessels were given by Sixth Dynasty kings to favored courtiers, particularly women.
See also 30.8.134 and 1992.338
30.8.134: Formerly Theodore M. Davis Collection. Bequeathed to the Museum by Davis, 1915; accessioned, 1930. 1992.338: Purchased from Galerie Nefer, Zurich, 1992. Published in BMMA Fall 1993 and subsequently, continuously exhibited. (1992.338)
1985. Nefer 3, 1985. Zurich: Galerie Nefer.
Arnold, Dorothea 1995. The Metropolitan Museum of Art Bulletin, new ser., vol. 52, no. 4 (Spring), New York: Metropolitan Museum of Art, p. 59, nos. 80–81.