Cosmetic Vessel in the Shape of a Cat, Travertine (Egyptian alabaster), copper, quartz crystal, paint

Cosmetic Vessel in the Shape of a Cat

Period:
Middle Kingdom
Dynasty:
Dynasty 12, early
Date:
ca. 1990–1900 B.C.
Geography:
From Egypt
Medium:
Travertine (Egyptian alabaster), copper, quartz crystal, paint
Dimensions:
h. 14 (5 1/2 in.); l. 13.7 cm (5 3/8 in.); w. 6.2 cm (2 7/16 in.)
Credit Line:
Purchase, Lila Acheson Wallace Gift, 1990
Accession Number:
1990.59.1
On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 111
The cat first appears in painting and relief at the end of the Old Kingdom, and this cosmetic jar is the earliest-known three-dimensional representation of the animal in Egyptian art. The sculptor demonstrates a keen understanding of the creature's physical traits, giving the animal the alert, tense look of a hunter rather than the elegant aloofness seen in later representations. The rock-crystal eyes, lined with copper, enhance the impression of readiness.
Purchased from Galerie Nefer, Zurich, 1990. Published in BMMA Fall 1990 and subsequently, continously exhibited.

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: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, pp. 20–21, 41, no. 17.

Fay, Biri 1998. "Egyptian Duck Flasks of Blue Anhydrite." In Metropolitan Museum Journal, 33, p. 25, fig. 7.