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Libation Dish Depicting Ka-Arms Presenting an Ankh-Sign

Period:
Early Dynastic Period
Dynasty:
Dynasty 1
Date:
ca. 3100–2900 B.C.
Geography:
From Egypt
Medium:
Greywacke
Dimensions:
w. 14.5 x h. (depth) 3.5 x l. 17.6 cm (5 11/16 x 1 3/8 x 6 15/16 in.)
Credit Line:
Rogers Fund, 1919
Accession Number:
19.2.16
  • Description

    This masterpiece of Early Dynastic stone carving has the shape of two intricately linked hieroglyphs. The two bent arms that frame three sides of the dish are read "ka," the word for "spirit" in ancient Egyptian. The loop and knot are read "ankh," meaning "life," or "to live." The combination could be interpreted as the phrase "life to thy spirit" or as the name of a person, Ankh-ka. The dish was undoubtedly used to pour a purifying liquid, probably water, that would take on the magical significance of the hieroglyphs.

  • Provenance

    Purchased in Cairo from Maurice Nahman, 1919.

  • See also
    What
    Where
    When
    In the Museum
    Heilbrunn Timeline of Art History
    MetPublications
543866:2

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