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Cosmetic Container in Form of Recumbent Gazelle

Egyptian, Classical, Ancient Near Eastern Art

On View: Egyptian Orientation Gallery, 3rd Floor
Cosmetic Dishes

Like spoons, cosmetic dishes may have been used for mixing ointments in the home, or for ritual purposes in a temple, or both.

Many of the dishes have images that seem to refer to beliefs about life after death. Both the lotus and the fish, for example, were associated with rebirth. Other subjects, such as the oryx (a type of antelope), may allude to the desire to maintain universal order. Because the oryx lived in the mysterious desert—beyond the ordered realm of Egyptian civilization—a bound oryx represented victory over chaos.
MEDIUM Wood, ivory
  • Reportedly From: Saqqara, Egypt
  • DATES ca. 1539–1292 B.C.E.
    DYNASTY Dynasty 18
    PERIOD New Kingdom
    DIMENSIONS 2 9/16 × 2 1/2 × 7 11/16 in. (6.5 × 6.4 × 19.5 cm)  (show scale)
    CREDIT LINE Charles Edwin Wilbour Fund
    CATALOGUE DESCRIPTION A toilet box in the form of a recumbent gazelle, left front leg raised. The lid forms part of the back on the animal. Headless. Ivory button on lid. Condition: Diagonal cracks are visible in the left flank and forequarters. Left front leg is mended and does not appear to be of the same wood as the rest of the piece. A longitudinal crack is seen in the stump of the neck.
    MUSEUM LOCATION This item is on view in Egyptian Orientation Gallery, 3rd Floor
    CAPTION Cosmetic Container in Form of Recumbent Gazelle, ca. 1539–1292 B.C.E. Wood, ivory, 2 9/16 × 2 1/2 × 7 11/16 in. (6.5 × 6.4 × 19.5 cm). Brooklyn Museum, Charles Edwin Wilbour Fund, 37.601E. Creative Commons-BY (Photo: Brooklyn Museum, 37.601E_NegC_SL4.jpg)
    IMAGE overall, unedited master file, 37.601E_NegC_SL4.jpg. Brooklyn Museum photograph
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    RIGHTS STATEMENT Creative Commons-BY
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