Women at a Banquet
Twentieth Century; original New Kingdom
Not on view
This detail of a banquet scene shows two female guests and a girl serving a liquid from a small flask. She is shown in an unusual pose with her back turned toward the viewer. The consumption of alcoholic beverages was a key element in many celebrations. In addition to social drinking, the participants of some festivals, such as the Beautiful Festival of the Valley, drank in excess to achieve an altered state of inebriation, disorientation, and sleepiness that was thought to enable communication with a deity or the dead. For this purpose, drugs might have also been served. Small flasks, such as the ones held by the servant on the left, might have held herbal concentrates that were added to wine to increase its effect. The accompanying inscription reads, "Make a happy day!"