Chalice fragment

Third Intermediate Period or later
Dynasty 21–25
ca. 1070–664 B.C.
From Egypt, Upper Egypt, Thebes
3.5 × 3 cm (1 3/8 × 1 3/16 in.)
Credit Line:
Purchase, Edward S. Harkness Gift, 1926
Accession Number:
On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 130
This turquoise blue fragment comes from the rim of a chalice. The relief decoration shows Caerulea (a water lily, often referred to the "blue lotus") flowers alternating with papyrus umbels. The blue lotus or waterlily was not as common as the white (N. lotus) variety in nature, but it was depicted more often in Egyptian art. It was symbolic of the sun and rebirth, as it closes during the night and opens again in the morning. The lily was also the heraldic plant of Upper Egypt, and the papyrus symbolized Lower Egypt; these were often shown twined together to symbolize the unification of Egypt.

See 26.7.971 for an example of a complete chalice.
Acquired by Lord Carnarvon for his collection before 1923. Carnarvon Collection purchased by the Museum from Lady Carnarvon, 1926.

Tait, G. A. D. 1963. "The Egyptian Relief Chalice." In Journal of Egyptian Archaeology, 49, p. 102.