Art/ Collection/ Art Object

Perfume Vessel in the Shape of Two Trussed Ducks

Late Second Intermediate Period
Dynasty 17
ca. 1580–1550 B.C.
From Egypt, Upper Egypt, Thebes, Sheikh Abd el-Qurna, Tomb near the Ramesseum (?), Mond 1902–1925 perhaps
Anhydrite, eyes inlaid with a porous material inside copper rims
h. 17.4 cm (6 7/8 in); w. 15.3 cm (6 in); d. 9.2 cm (3 5/8 in)
Credit Line:
Gift of Edward S. Harkness, 1927
Accession Number:
Not on view
The flask - delicately carved from the rare stone material anhydrite - has the form of a pair of trussed ducklings placed back-to-back. Their necks arch far from the bodies and the joints of their legs make four little knuckles for the vessel to stad on. The birds' eyes are inlaid with copper. Trussed duck were a common offering to the dead. It is, therefore, possible that this vessel, although originally without doubt containing a cosmetic substance, was made for the tomb and not to be used in daily life. Vessels of this material were formerly thought to be of Middle Kingdom date. More recent studies have shown that they should be placed into the late Second Intermediate Period.
Purchased in Luxor, 1925–1926. Donated to the Museum by Edward S. Harkness, 1927.

Breasted, James H. Jr. 1936. Geschichte Ägyptens. Zürich, pl. 286.

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: Metropolitan Museum of Art, p. 244, 245, fig. 157.

Arnold, Dorothea 1995. The Metropolitan Museum of Art Bulletin, new ser., vol. 52, no. 4 (Spring), New York: Metropolitan Museum of Art, pp. 28–29, no. 27.

Fay, Biri 1998. "Egyptian Duck Flasks of Blue Anhydrite." In Metropolitan Museum Journal, 33, p.25, fig. 8, no. 1; p. 37, fig. 31a, b.

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