Art/ Collection/ Art Object

Ointment jar inscribed with the name of Pepi I

Period:
Old Kingdom
Dynasty:
Dynasty 6
Reign:
reign of Pepi I
Date:
ca. 2289–2255 B.C.
Geography:
From Egypt
Medium:
Travertine (Egyptian alabaster)
Dimensions:
H. 15 cm (5 7/8 in); greatest diam. 13 cm (5 1/8 in)
Credit Line:
Rogers Fund, 1927
Accession Number:
27.2.2
On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 103
This ointment jar was probably valued more for its inscription than for the perfumed oil or unguents it contained. With a wide rim and flat foot, the vessel has a disk shaped lid with a circular protuberance on the inside. Such receptacles were common from the Fifth to the Eleventh Dynasty. Many similar jars bear inscriptions that mention the celebration of the royal jubilee (Sed festival) have been found, most of which date to the Sixth Dynasty. This jar bears the name of Pepi I and mentions the first celebration of his Sed festival, which seem to have taken place in the eighteenth year of his reign. Such jars were most likely given as royal gifts, underscoring the king’s preeminence, but also distinguishing the person to whom they were presented.
The jar and the lid are both inscribed with the name of Pepi I.
On lid:
Hr.w mr.y-tA.wj nswt-bj.tj mr.y-raw D anx
Horus Merytawi King of Upper and Lower Egypt Meryre given life.
On the side of the jar:
Hr.w mr.y-tA.wj
D anx wAs D.t
The Horus Merytawi,
given life and dominion forever.

nswt-bj.tj mr.y-raw
D anx wAs D.t
zp-tp.j H(A)b-sd*
King of Upper and Lower Egypt, Meryre
given life and dominion forever.
first occasion of the Sed festival
* like in other contemporary occurrence of the festival, sd is written before HAb (see Wb III, 59).
Niv Allon 2016
Purchased in Cairo from Nicolas Tano, 1927.

Scott, Nora E. 1944. Home Life of the Ancient Egyptians: A Picture Book. New York: Plantin Press, fig. 25.

Hayes, William C. 1953. Scepter of Egypt I: A Background for the Study of the Egyptian Antiquities in The Metropolitan Museum of Art, Part I: From the Earliest Times to the End of the Middle Kingdom. New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, p. 127, fig. 77.

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