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Ointment-Spoon

Egyptian, Classical, Ancient Near Eastern Art

On View: Egypt Reborn: Art for Eternity, 19th Dynasty to Roman Period, Martha A. and Robert S. Rubin Gallery, 3rd Floor

The late Eighteenth Dynasty was one of the the most flamboyant and excessive periods of design in Egyptian history. This spoon demonstrates the dominant aesthetic of the day: the complementary union of naturalistic elements, formal design, and excessive, stylized detailing.

The motif is a pomegranate branch terminating in a huge reddish-yellow fruit that swivels on a tiny pivot to reveal the bowl of the spoon. Tiny pomegranates, brightly painted flowers, and slender leaves project from the stem that serves as the handle. Beneath the lowest leaves the artisan has added an extraordinary embellishment: two lotus flowers, each with a Mimispos fruit emerging from it.

Although the individual elements of the spoon are treated with painstaking attention to detail, the design itself is pure fantasy. For example, pomegranate flowers and fruit never appear on a tree at the same time.

MEDIUM Ivory
  • Place Made: Egypt
  • DATES ca. 1336-1327 B.C.E.
    DYNASTY late XVIII Dynasty
    PERIOD New Kingdom
    DIMENSIONS 2 9/16 x 11/16 x 8 3/16 in. (6.5 x 1.8 x 20.8 cm)  (show scale)
    ACCESSION NUMBER 42.411
    CREDIT LINE Charles Edwin Wilbour Fund
    RIGHTS STATEMENT Creative Commons-BY
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    CAPTION Ointment-Spoon, ca. 1336-1327 B.C.E. Ivory, 2 9/16 x 11/16 x 8 3/16 in. (6.5 x 1.8 x 20.8 cm). Brooklyn Museum, Charles Edwin Wilbour Fund, 42.411. Creative Commons-BY
    IMAGE overall, 42.411_SL1.jpg. Brooklyn Museum photograph
    "CUR" at the beginning of an image file name means that the image was created by a curatorial staff member. These study images may be digital point-and-shoot photographs, when we don\'t yet have high-quality studio photography, or they may be scans of older negatives, slides, or photographic prints, providing historical documentation of the object.
    CATALOGUE DESCRIPTION Polychromed ivory ointment-spoon in the shape of a pomegranate, with a stem bearing flowers and small pomegranates forming the handle. A swivel pin opens cover.
    RECORD COMPLETENESS Best (84%)
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