Art/ Collection/ Art Object

Toilet vase with two handles, inscribed for the Seal Bearer Kemes

Middle Kingdom
Dynasty 12, late–early 13
ca. 1850–1775 B.C.
From Egypt, Memphite Region, Lisht North, cemetery west of pyramid of Amenemhat I, so-called " toilet basket I," not with burial
Glazed steatite
h. 3.3 cm (1 5/16 in); diam. 3.1 cm (1 1/4 in)
Credit Line:
Rogers Fund, 1944
Accession Number:
On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 113
This small vessel - used most probably as a container for eye paint (kohl) - imitates the shape of a Canaanite jar, a large two- handled storage vessel of clay that was used in the trade of oils and resins from the Levant into Egypt at this time. This Egyptian miniature version is inscribed for the "Seal Bearer Kemes, "possessor of reverence." It was found - together with several other small vessels and a female figure - in a basket (called "toilet basket I" by the excavators) deposited west of the pyramid of Amenemhat I at Lisht North. A date for the group is suggested by the shape of a small ointment jar (44.4.3) also in the group.
Excavated by the Egyptian Expedition of the Metropolitan Museum of Art at Lisht, 1906-1907. Acquired by the Museum from the Egyptian Government in the division of finds. Collection of J. Pierpont Morgan. Purchased by the Museum from the Estate of J. P. Morgan, 1944.

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: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, p. 244.

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