Miniature saucer

Old Kingdom
Dynasty 5
reign of Isesi–Unis
ca. 2381–2323 B.C.
From Egypt, Memphite Region, Saqqara, Tomb of Perneb, MMA excavations, 1913–14
H: 1.4-2.7 cm (9/16-1 1/16 in.); Diam: 4.3-5 cm (1 11/16-1 15-16 in.)
Credit Line:
Gift of Edward S. Harkness, 1914
Accession Number:
On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 100
Sixty-eight model vessels of limestone were found scattered in Perneb's subterranean apartments. These would originally have been placed in the burial chamber to provide symbolic sustence for the afterlife. Such sets of miniature vessels, solid or with only token cavities, first appear in tombs during the early Old Kingdom. At Giza, for example, several complete miniature table services were found, consisting of a basin and ewer for washing, seven vases for sacred oils, beer and wine jars, and many small cups and saucers.

Perneb's set of model vessels consists of four shouldered "beer" jars, four tapering bottles with high collars; two wine jars (each with two grooves around the body), seven cylindrical ointment containers, a jug with a single handle, and forty-nine bowls and saucers. A disk-shaped object was also found with this group of objects; this may be the top of a tiny offering table. This is a saucer.
From Saqqara, purchased from the Egyptian government, 1914.

Lythgoe, Albert M. and Caroline Ransom 1916. The Tomb of Perneb. New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, cf. p. 33, fig. 22.

Hayes, William C. 1953. Scepter of Egypt I: A Background for the Study of the Egyptian Antiquities in The Metropolitan Museum of Art: From the Earliest Times to the End of the Middle Kingdom. Cambridge, Mass.: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, p. 118.