This rather beautiful blue chalice is about 15cm tall, and is made of faience. It dates to the Third Intermediate Period (between 2500 and 3000 years ago) and is said to have come from Tuna el-Gebel (it’s now in the Met in New York, acc. no. 26.7.971).

The scenes on it are really finely modelled – you can even see the feathers on the bird (next to the man carrying the calf) and the scales on the fish. I’m not sure exactly what the meaning of these scenes is, but I think they are all to do life, creation and rebirth.

I’m particularly intrigued by the man holding apart some sort of antelope-y creature and what looks a lot like a rhino (I’m sure it isn’t, but I’m not sure what it is!). It reminds me of earlier motifs of men with beasts, so perhaps it’s depicting man bringing order to chaos.

Relief Decorated Chalice. Third Intermediate Period, Dynasty 22-25, c. 945-664 BCE. Acc. No.: 26.7.971

See it on my photo site: and go one left to see it alongside another similar vessel.

Jigsaw Puzzles:

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