This delightful little piece is only 7.5 inches tall and is inscribed with the name of Merenre I who ruled immediately before the better known Pepi II towards the end of the 6th Dynasty. This makes it over 4000 years old, and despite being that old it’s still in pretty good nick!
It’s made of alabaster and shows a mother monkey cuddling her baby. It’s thought to’ve been a vessel which once held oil or unguents, and may’ve been gifted to a woman of the court by the king. The imagery has connotations of the exotic and of fertility.
It also makes me think a bit of the small alabaster statue of Pepi II on his mother’s knee that’s in the Brooklyn Museum now, but I rather think no Ancient Egyptian would make that link!
It’s not clear where it was found but it is now in the Met Museum (acc. no.: 30.8.1340.)
See it on my photo site: https://photos.talesfromthetwolands.org/picture.php?/1333/category/6
See also the statue of Pepi II and his mother: https://photos.talesfromthetwolands.org/picture.php?/282
I’ve talked about Pepi II on the blog before: https://talesfromthetwolands.org/2020/05/11/pepi-ii/