Cosmetic Spoon in the Form of a Swimming Girl, Faience

Cosmetic Spoon in the Form of a Swimming Girl

Third Intermediate Period–Kushite Period
Dynasty 21–25
ca. 1070–664 B.C.
From Egypt
l. 16.3 cm (6 7/16 in)
Credit Line:
Rogers Fund, 1944
Accession Number:
On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 122
Made of faience with bright turquoise glaze, this cosmetic container has a handle in the form of a naked girl holding a rectangular basin in her outstretched arms. Naked except for her black wig, the girl is thought, based on two-dimensional representations that show such figures in a marshy setting, to be swimming. In other examples, the girl can hold a waterfowl, a marsh plant, or a cartouche, and such spoons have been interpreted as ritual objects that can be read as rebuses associated with goddesses such as Nut and Hathor.
J. Pierpont Morgan Collection, acquired by him from Maurice Nahman, Cairo, before 1913. Acquired by the Museum from the Estate of J. P. Morgan, 1944.

Hayes, William C. 1959. Scepter of Egypt II: A Background for the Study of the Egyptian Antiquities in the Metropolitan Museum of Art: The Hyksos Period and the New Kingdom (1675-1080 B.C.). Cambridge, Mass.: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, pp. 190–191.

Wallert, Ingrid 1967. Der verzierte Löffel: seine Formgeschichte und Verwendung im alten Ägypten, Ägyptologische Abhandlungen, 16. Wiesbaden: Harrassowitz Verlag, N 18, p. 133, pl. 34, p. 40.